Those who have been to war have often said that in the trenches all are equal. All are brothers, looking out for each other and protecting each other without prejudice. There is camaraderie in war that soldiers say cannot be duplicated anywhere else in life. In the trenches, no one in the unit is better than anyone else. Despite politics, religion, race or background, the unit is one. This is a snapshot of selflessness and humility.
Humility is the opposite of pride, arrogance, and egotism. Humility is mentioned around 100 times in the Bible, and perfectly demonstrated in the life of Jesus. “For even the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve.” (Mark 10:45a)
Humility, like kindness and compassion, is not something we can acquire individually, apart from those around us. Living humbly involves our attitudes toward every human being we encounter, and others will see our attitudes in the ways we manifest them through our actions, words, and tones.
The simplest and most profound definition of “humble” was one I heard in a children’s sermon this week. Humble means “not better than anyone else.”
Humble doesn’t mean we agree with everyone or believe that our choices and theirs, our religion and theirs, our politics and theirs are equal, but that as human beings we are of equal worth before God and we can live together in mutual respect. If we acknowledge that we are all equally dependent on God’s grace, what a powerful statement is “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5). Sometimes we have heard a verse so often that it doesn’t penetrate us, but think about this one before reading on. Does this say that only those who do not think of themselves more highly than anyone else can receive God’s grace?
Let’s test ourselves prayerfully, with the realization that none of us has reached true humility, and with the goal of privately humbling ourselves before the Divine Potter and allowing our deepest attitudes to be remolded.
From the sentences below, choose all the sentence completions you personally and privately most need to pray.
I’m not better than _____ (political conservatives, political liberals, Republicans, Democrats, bloggers who think differently from me)
I’m not better than _____ (atheists, Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Jews, Christians)
I’m not better than _____ (immigrants, Mexicans, black people, white people, non-English speakers, Middle Easterners, southerners, northerners)
I’m not better than _____ (those less educated than I, those more educated than I, my superiors at work, those who work under me)
I’m not better than _____ (women, men, gay people, poor people, rich people, homeless people, people on food stamps, old people, young people, disabled people)
I’m not better than _____ (adulterers, prisoners, drug addicts, racists)
I’m not better than _____ (Add your own . . .)
Now let’s select from our choices those that speak most loudly to us as individuals, maybe the ones we most wanted to argue against, and commit to pray every day for 2 weeks that God will mold us into the humble servant God’s Word calls each of us to be. Let us pray to live humbly in the trenches of God’s service.