Humility: Putting Yourself Last
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
C. S. Lewis
Put others before yourself, and God before others.
Let’s do a thought exercise for a moment. When was the last time you were, say, cut off in traffic? The chances are pretty high that it’s been within the last 7 days or so. Remember how you felt when that happened… did you immediately extol the virtues of the person who quite literally put themselves ahead of you, or did you do something a little more… base and primal? Perhaps a short yell, a prayer, or a fit of rage?
Jesus’ famous (and oft misappropriated) statement that we should turn the other cheek () is part of a much larger chunk of awesome that tells us how we are supposed to treat others who do, shall we say, unfortunate things against us. (). In it, he’s charging us to not retaliate in kind when someone wrongs us, but to be humble towards that person. (Please note that this is not telling you to allow someone to abuse you. There’s a big difference. Don’t ever think that’s OK).
We can’t know what’s going on in the minds and lives of other people. That person who cut you off may be going through a nasty divorce, they may be late for an appointment that’s potentially going to cost them their career, their mother could be dying in a hospital (or they could just be a jerk). We don’t know what’s causing them to be the way they are, and by getting upset and retaliating, you may even cause them to sin further! Instead approach them with humility () and with an air of grace.
It’s not an ichthys (…Jesus fish) on the back of your car as you cut that driver right back off that will prove your Christianity, rather, it’s your humility, grace, and mercy that mirrors the qualities of God. How can you demonstrate this in your life today?
39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (ESV)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (ESV)
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV)
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (ESV)