"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anyone up for some humility?

Andrew is not a preacher, but for some reason a few years ago he started receiving Today's Christian Preacher addressed to REV (his fulllllllll name)! Maybe it was a joke that someone played on him...who knows? Better than subscribing him to Playboy for sure, but anyway.... I am the one who tends to read through the quarterly magazine, and last night I came across this interesting part on humility as it relates to preachers.

I had recently been talking to a friend from a very different background when humility came up in our conversation. Friend asked me what was the reason two people from such different cultures (and countries, languages, religions & food!) could break down those potential walls and appreciate each other's differences, and, in fact, become dear friends. Like if we were writing a how-to manual with FAQs (frequently asked questions) how would I answer someone who said "how can this be done?" I started talking and within a few seconds was interrupted with "yes!" as soon as I mentioned the "h" word! I'd said something like, "Be willing to have a teachable spirit, humble yourself and truly listen to each other."

Why is being willing to humble yourself so important? Here is what this magazine has to say about humility as it relates to pastors. Read through and see if you agree or disagree.

1. "Humble pastors are teachable people. They are open to instruction and confrontation. An unteachable person is an arrogant person. Anyone who will not listen to rebuke is blinded by pride."

I've often found people unwilling to listen to other points of view to be arrogant. I've not always been successful, but this is an area where I've tried to be different. I've always been a pretty good listener, and I've found the more you really listen to someone and try to understand where she is coming from, the easier it is to make sense of things and find compassion in your heart for that person! I still have very strong opinions and principles from which I am not budging (unless the Lord changes my stance), however, I have found I am able to better appreciate others' perspectives as I've tried to cultivate a teachable spirit, where even if I'm not likely to agree with you, I'm going to learn from you.

2. "Humble pastors are willing to acknowledge their weaknesses and admit their mistakes....Godly people are sin-confessing people (I John 1:9). ... Some men in ministry worry that if they ever admit they were wrong or made a mistake, it will be used against them. This kind of insecurity ruins working relationships and productivity because the insecure man strives to cover his mistakes instead of correcting them."

I believe we can apply this to many more than just pastors. How about people in politics? And how about nations? Is it a sin for a nation to admit it was wrong? It seems these days it's more popular to never apologize in order to not appear weak. Like apologizing and patriotism cannot go together. Isn't this mindset arrogant? Why is it so difficult for a superpower nation - or any nation for that matter - to humble itself in front of the world and admit, "Hey, guys, you know when we _____________. Well, we made a huge mistake and we were wrong in doing that. Please accept our sincere apologies as we seek to make amends for what we did." I think it takes a big person - one of much character - to admit publicly and with sincerity that he or she was wrong. I find I truly admire a sincere person who has the guts to humble himself and admit a wrong. Much better than those who are only sorry because they were caught or who offer half-hearted apologies while trying to justify what they did or calling them "mistakes" instead of what they truly were: wrong choices on their parts! (Do I sound arrogant now? :-D Oops!)

3. "Humble pastors also will gladly allow themselves to be held accountable. Being humble means accepting responsibility for commitment and performance. . . . Pride causes a man to bristle when he is held accountable. 'Who does he think he is? I don't need someone looking over my shoulder!' That kind of thinking misses the point. If you serve on a team, you have an obligation to that team and you make commitments to that team. A 'superstar' thinks he isn't bound by the obligations of a team. A humble man gladly accepts his role and responsibilities as a team member."

I think we've all come across news on politicians or sports or movie stars who seem to be above the rules the rest of us have to live by. You've seen arrogant ball players who think they can do whatever they want because they have special talents in basketball or football. Most of us recognize them for the arrogant jerks that they are. But maybe we've never applied it to ourselves and reading this about our willingness (or lack of it) to be held accountable hits home. I also think this can apply to nations, but since I'm at my core an individualistic American from the South who doesn't have fond thoughts of the UN, I won't delve into actually applying this to the United States at this time. ;-)

May we always remember Jesus who came from the glory of heaven willingly. He humbled Himself for our sakes. Now let us humble ourselves and serve others following the example of our Savior. If He is not "too good" to wash dirty feet, how can we protest doing tasks we deem beneath us?

Thus concludes this post on humility.


Achelois said...

This is a wonderful post! Thank you so much for posting this. Would you mind if I read it (giving you credit of course) to my Church group?

Its my turn to speak on the weekend and I still don't have anything prepared.

Susanne said...

Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. :)

You are always welcome to use anything I post ... even if it's to share something you strongly disagree with. I enjoy the feedback so thanks much for reading all that. I know it was a lot. :)

So you all take turns preparing lessons at your church? That sounds very interesting! I often enjoyed your "lessons" on your old blog. You often challenged my thinking by things you read and reported over there.

Amber said...


An excellent post. :)

The first thought that came to mind was something I heard sarcastically, recently: 'I'm so humble I envy the people who know me!'

But it also reminded me of this story, unfortunately I can't remember the man it refers to:

'_____' an important Roman (maybe an emperor or senator, like I said, I'm drawing a blank here!) had a servant whose job was to follow him wherever he went. And every time anyone praised the man, the servant was to lean over and whisper in his master's ear, 'You're only a man...'

Susanne said...

Amber, I LOVED that story you shared! Thank you!

Achelois said...

Thanks S :)

Yes, we are a study group of four people. Where I live we have don't have a Unitarian church yet there are people who are committed to studying various religious sources and especially the NT. So some of us who have chosen Jesus as a personal guide and teacher have got together and we study parts of NT and relate it to our environment, society, and other religions and discuss it every week. When we can we go to a local Coptic/Catholic/Evangelical church and attend sermons there to adapt for our study group. It is a very interesting experience.
Unfortunately, two people from our small group of four are married - that is not the unfortunate part, the sad part is that they are moving to the UK so we'll have to get more (Jesus fans) Unitarians together :)

Susanne said...

Achelois, wow, that does sound interesting indeed! Wish I lived closer so I could join you! :) Thanks for explaining about your study group - love it!