Humility is too often misunderstood. It is about “right seeing”, not about self-abasement. We are far from perfect, but neither are we door mats.
Compared to God’s perfection and majesty, we are nothing.
In the loving eyes of God, we are everything.
We sin, sometimes gravely, yet we are also capable of genuine acts of kindness and compassion. We are a mixed bag without a doubt. “Good goats”, as one author put it.
Humility is knowing our rightful place. Humility is about recognizing the pain that our sin has caused.
Humility is not about wallowing in it.
We are all too familiar with the wounds that our faults have caused, but humility also knows that we are not our sin.
Humility is approaching God as Heb 4:16 tells us:
“…the high priest we have is not incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us, but has been put to the test in exactly the same way as ourselves, apart from sin. Let us, then, have no fear in approaching the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace when we are in need of help.”
False humility does not dare approach “the Throne of Grace”. We are “unworthy” it says… and we believe it. It makes as much sense as not going to our doctor until we feel better.
True humility acknowledges our faults and our frailty, but knows that Grace, Mercy, and Compassion are freely offered, and freely given. Ours is to ask, and then to accept, and finally and too often the most difficult, to forgive… ourselves.
“…walking through the compulsions and hurts of our lives…” seems counter-intuitive. We each respond in our own way, but eventually we learn that…
Denial is delusion.
Giving up grows nothing good.
Struggle feeds our compulsions.
Wrestling drains us in our battles.
In spite of our natural response to fight with our compulsions, not engaging them is the way they are overcome. The magnet of their pull drags us back into the struggle. We are sorely tempted, if only to quiet the tempest in our minds.
Sometimes we stumble. Sometimes we do go back and wrestle with ourselves.
Flailing and grabbing at the mist grasps nothing.
Feeding our struggles guarantees their persistence.
False humility throws the debris of our weaknesses in our face while our compulsions laugh.
Starving them of attention drains their strength. When we no longer feed them, they wither.
“Walking through”, our faults means that though we are acutely aware of them, we manage to leave them behind. We feel them clawing for attention, but do not open an entrance. Our weaknesses do not define us.
Acceptance is at first reluctant and uncertain. The question is always, how can we “accept” our faults without buying into them? How do we leave behind what clings to us, if only for a fleeting moment of peace?
Acknowledge their presence. Agree with the truth that, “yes, I did ‘that’”, but know that, “I am more than ‘that’”. And there lies the groundwork of healing… “I am more than ‘that’”.
God’s Grace supports us in our “walking through” as we put one foot in front of the other, but only we can do the walking; God does the supporting.
We hazard a first step… and another… and then a third, and so we enter the haze of change as when we pass through the morning mist.
We cannot see very far. We worry about stumbling. We dread the unknown. We fear the uncharted path ahead and want to turn back to familiar ground. We want to change, yet we hesitate.
Are we on the right path? The chains of our habits hold us tightly. It can be paralyzing. How do you “move through” when you can’t move?
Tentative and hardly noticeable at first, but with gentle perseverance, we do move. The chains are stretched until they finally give way.
Gentle perseverance. Force only ensures that the struggle continues. There are no short-cuts, no way to speed the healing, nothing to make the pain go away as quickly as we’d like. God knows, and sadly it’s too true, that lessons are best learned when they are earned. In that remembering, we gain our freedom.
Our freedom is entered into as it dawns on us that everything teaches us. The true choice before us is whether or not we learn from our experience.
Our freedom comes through the humility of accepting that “we are not so perfect either”. It is only through that wisdom, too often learned the hard way, that we forgive other’s as we would like to be forgiven.
By walking through our hurts and compulsions, we take the step of the “Prodigal Son”. And like the prodigal father, our Father in heaven accepts us, redeems, restores, and heals us, and then celebrates our return.
God’s gaze is always there. It is radiant and warm. It exposes our deepest wounds and heals them with God’s Light. It withers the weeds and releases us from the tangled vines and brambles that our lives have become. We need only to turn to God’s gaze. We need only to allow it to heal us.
The wounds do eventually become scars, and the scars remain to remind us. We remember the pain, but it no longer tears at us.
God’s love and acceptance prepare us for the next growth ring in the tree of our life as we so slowly learn that…
Peace can only live in a peaceful heart.
Love grows where love is tended and nurtured.
Compassion sees us walking in the shoes of another.
We grow in the peace and love that only peace and love can nourish.
And so what once weighed us down in the mire and sludge of our protected hurts, fades at the speed of a dream.