Monday, August 30, 2010
Blog #56 -a HUMILITY
Blog # 56 -a HUMILITY ` From the Book of Sirach 3:17, 18. My child, conduct your affairs with humility and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. Think of the most recent time you used the word humility or heard that word spoken in your presence... I would not even think of asking when it might have been since you read the word in a daily newspaper or heard it on TV. Chances are the word humility is not a frequent or significant part of your daily conversation. If this so, it is likely to be true that you are not aware of any special value in it for you and that you are not growing in it. What comes immediately and spontaneously to you mind when you hear or read the word humility? I seems many people would think of sinfulness, lowliness, or powerlessness. There is a connection between all of these with one another and with humility, but these words do not capture all there is to humility, nor its most valuable meaning. We are to be humble in sight of our sins, yes, but there is also a positive and more significant aspect to the virtue. Jesus was absolutely without sin, yet was the most humble of us all. Even in the lowliness, if you want to put it that way, or simplicity and poverty of His birth in a stable, and His lying in a manger, Jesus was God, divine, lofty beyond our imagination. Though we find Jesus walking from Jerusalem to Jericho, and though He wept over the death of His friend Lazarus, Jesus had the power to walk on water, to calm a storm. Though He was hung on the cross as a criminal He had the power to tell Pontius Pilate that Pilate would have had no power over Him whatsoever if it had not been given Pilate "from above". Humility can be experienced in lowliness, powerlessness, and in our response to our sins. But it also can be experienced , and perhaps more perfectly, when we are holy, at the peak of our power, and at the moment of our greatest success. Humility is a natural virtue and can be experienced by a person who does not believe in God. For such a person the ingredients of humility are truth and honesty, seeing or experiencing life as it is rather than as we might like it to be (truth), and accepting this truth rather than denying it or distorting it. Such a person is naturally humble and naturally happy. But humility has often been labeled as a characteristically Christian virtue. The basics of Christian humility include what it takes to make the natural experience of humility, truth and honesty (the acceptance of the truth), but adds the dimension of God and our union with Jesus in response to God. To the natural virtue of humility the Christian virtue of humility adds faith and obedience. By faith we accept as fact that God is the Creator of all and that we depend upon God for all that we have and all that we are. When we respond to that faith in obedience and accept all that we are and all that is real as an expression of the will of God we have supernatural humility. We do not look to ourselves for our purpose or meaning but to God. Health or sickness, wealth or hard times are not what determines for us whether we are humble or not. Rather our humility is determined by our personal and free response to all things in the light of our relationship with God in Jesus. I am humiliated by my sins. I am humble when I accept forgiveness. In my sin I turn from God or deny who I am. In forgiveness I am once more the person God desires me to be. I am humble in a garden as I stand before the plan of God in the power of a single seed to grow and produce a string bean or a watermelon, shared with me in the here and now of the garden. I am humble before the wonders of my body, with so much going on within it, shared with me totally, yet all belonging to God. I am humble before the sun as it rises and goes down. The sun belongs to God. Yet its beauty and meaning is shared with me. I am humble before friends and before love. God has commanded everyone to love me and me to love everyone. I am humble before this command and rejoice in it. The seed grows and the sun comes up and goes down for the unbeliever as well as for me. But it is God's gift only for the humble, the honest, the responder,one who believes. Taking 'we' as the six billion or more human creatures scattered around the earth today, we might be compared to one or the other of the various electric appliances in your home. Each appliance must be connected to an electric source in order to be what it was designed to be. In order to be what we are designed to be we must be personalliy and consciously related to God the Creator of all. An electric appliance is real even though unplugged. But it is not all it was designed to be. So we. We are real even though we are not consciously related to God, but we are not all we were designed to be. If we do not have Christian humility we are missing a wonderful experience ! This is a significant part of the message Jesus told us to share with all the world.