If I had to choose one word to describe this year thus far, I would probably select “Challenging”. I can think of other words, but I try not to cuss. It’s not an exaggeration to say that 2020 reeks of pestilence, death and destruction. And if you didn’t already have the blues, now you do. You’re welcome.
As I spent time in God’s Holy Word this morning, I had a revelation. While there are MANY ways this year could improve, there is one thing (besides the love and mercy of Jesus Christ) that can make it more palatable for all of us. Are you ready? Wait for it…
It feels strange to bolden that word, but it’s so meek I thought it needed a little flair. The point? We would all (myself included) float (or stumble) through the rest of this year with a lot more grace and quite probably less stress if we would approach each moment with more humility.
Don’t close the page. Hear me out. Humility is all about becoming “unselved”, if you will. It’s liberating ourselves from constant navel gazing and focusing on ourselves. Our wants. Our needs. Our rights. But enough of my opinion. Let’s look at it from a biblical perspective.
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33 NIV
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalms 25:8-9 NIV
Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4 NIV
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3 NIV
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 NIV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 NIV
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8 NIV
Let’s apply some of this scripture to the big doozy issues we face this year:
If we bear with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2), our first concern becomes how to protect those around us from this disease. We cease to worry about what we are missing, how hot and uncomfortable masks feel, and the ways we are inconvenienced. We think less about our “rights” and more about keeping our friends, neighbors and even strangers well. We may not know what others are dealing with. Better to keep them safe than sorry. I won’t pretend that this is easy. Some days I feel I may lose my mind if I stay in this house with these precious children another minute. But better I temporarily lose my mind than someone else lose his or her life.
Philippians 2:3 tells us to “value others above ourselves”. I see no qualifiers here. It doesn’t specify that the “others” have to look like you. Or talk like you. Or dress like you. Or even believe like you (this one can apply to the next point as well). If we display humility by valuing ALL others above ourselves, the issue of racism goes away entirely. Our country’s history of sin still remains, but true humility will at least fix the present so people of color can begin to heal from the past.
Every presidential election year I want to quit social media. If I didn’t have this blog to promote, I would already be gone. 1 Peter 3:8 says to be “like-minded”. Are we being commanded to see eye-to-eye? No. God created us unique. It’s one of the most interesting things about relationships. The rest of the verse gives context. We are to be sympathetic (agreeable, congenial), compassionate (tenderhearted), humble (some translations say “courteous”) and loving. I rarely see these characteristics present in political discourse. To be humble in this arena is to allow others to have their own opinions without bullying, grandstanding or vitriol.
I could say so much more about humility, but I will practice it instead. I plan to go back and study these verses again, and ask God to show me where my pride gets in His way. Will you?
Father, examine my heart in the these areas and any others I fail to show the proper respect and deference for others. Transform me and make me a servant in the order of your Son Jesus. Thank You for the gift of Your Word to guide us and forgive me for the times I promote myself and my agenda over others.
And now for this week’s featured post!
I had already cried twice and thrown myself quite a pity party on the day I found Confessions of a Caregiver Episode 8 – Fighting for Your Smile with a Fresh Perspective by Suzette of myconcretedove.com. As almost every support system I had in place shut down or became unsafe for my daughter with special needs, Covid-19 felt less like a vacation from work and more like a prison. I have complained entirely too much, but Suzette’s gentle reminder that I can change my perspective and “choose not to be miserable”, was much needed encouragement for me this week. Maybe you need a perspective change too.
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