Sunday, January 22, 2006

Humility: An Observation

Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama 

hum·ble (hũm'bel)

adj. hum·blerhum·blest
1. Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
2. Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology.
3. Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly: a humble cottage.
tr.v. hum·bledhum·blinghum·bles
1. To curtail or destroy the pride of; humiliate.
2. To cause to be meek or modest in spirit.
3. To give a lower condition or station to; abase. See Synonyms at degrade.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin humilislow, lowly, from humusground; see dhghem- in Indo-European roots.]

over the past few months, i've been struggling with the true meaning of humility. what does it mean to be humble? what is the opposite of arrogance and pride? in my attempt to imitate a form of humility, i am afraid that i have only redefined it. my version of humility looked more like self-pity. or denial of my ability. and in doing this, i felt fake. and that was frustrating. because it seemed that no matter what i do, i appear to be prideful. even in stating that, i somehow take pride in acknowledging that i'm proud. and then feel a need to explain myself. figure that one out.

recently, Barbera Walters did a documentary called, "Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There?" where she conversed with numerous leaders of various faiths. one being His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. i observed this man and the position he took when asked, "the Tibetans claim that you are a god. is this true? are you enlightened?" his response, "no! i am not enlightened. i do not know what will happen tonight, or tomorrow, i can barely remember what happened yesterday. my eyes have bad vision. if i was a god, would i need glasses? ...i am just a teacher."

okay, there is an obvious christian response to this interview. but for the moment, i want to skip that. because what i find to be so attractive about this man's character is his denial of his given title. is this humility? is humility really just acknowledging that your reputable identity is a lie? this is upsetting to me. because to mimick his realization would mean denial of my identity, which is found in Christ. and with that being the foundation of my faith, i know this to be absolutely true: i have been born again. can i have pride in truth? the truth is that my self-inflicted shortcoming is worthless. yet Jesus' death on the cross has saved my from my sin.

i suppose the scriptural summation of this would be (Galations 6:14) "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

as well as Paul's vision in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.

1 comment:

  1. I think Paul begins to get at what humility is when he says in Romans 12 let each man think of himself with sober judegment. When we consider who we are truly, then humility does not become self pity. We have nothing to pity in ourselves for being in Christ we are redeemed. We have every reason to aknowledge our weaknesses because we need Christ. When we think about our sinfulness, and our perfect Savior we rejoice in telling people we are weak not for some false sense of humility but to point to Christ.