death and dirt
A thought struck me the other day as I was meeting with a group of guys, talking about the topic of humility. Humility is something that we rarely ever talk about but yet most, if they were asked directly, would admit that they aspire to at least to some form of it. We rarely talk about humility probably due to the fact that (1) most of us are not really too excited about being known for humility – because it often appears weak – and (2) we are afraid of appearing “holier than thou” (as though holiness were something to avoid). Though many of us may get excited about the honor that is directed at the humble – we just want the honor, not the humility.
We are often disgusted at those “fakers” we see who go through the motions but obviously have selfish motives. Though we may despise others for insincere motives we have no problem with it when it comes to our own practice of it. We find avenues to display what have been labeled “humble actions” to avoid having to do anything that might look weak or spineless in others’ eyes.
Whatever our rationale is for our aversion to humility – whether that be to the idea of it (which we may be fond of) or to the actual practice of it (which is on completely different level) – the truth is that humility could not be more opposed to our fleshly nature. Being that Christ is the ultimate example of humility we might say that to aspire to humility is to aspire to holiness. And it is at this point that we realize our dramatically distorted concept of humility is only echo of the true form.
We would much prefer the veneer of humility that we have adopted because it only requires going thru the motions of sacrifice but lacking the necessary death and dirt that is associated with true humility. True humility does not seek to maintain a squeaky-clean reputation as we commonly esteem “cleanliness” because it is more concerned about the one being sacrificed FOR and not itself. Christ taking the form of a man and being crucified like a criminal seems silly if the point was to keep a squeaky clean image. He displayed the true essence of humility in bearing our stripes and going to the grave.
We, however, are afraid of the dirt of sacrifice because we’ve spent a lot on building our wardrobe of humility. We act as though humility can be assembled with all it’s necessary parts like an outfit we pick out for the next day. If we simply put on these clothes, we can still maintain a good image and no pain or dying is necessary. If people recognize our “humility clothes” and associate those with humility our only remaining task is one of laundry, not heart change. Chances are, if it is true humility in action, on-lookers won’t be complimenting your outfit, they’ll be laughing at it.
True humility is only possible because of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection. It only makes sense in his economy. Let’s not settle for the cheap stuff. Look to him as the example by and for which to live that example. If we are aiming for true humility we must not be afraid of dirt and most importantly the necessity of death. Because it is only when we die that we will find true life.
So in all our “doing”, men, let’s be known for humility. Let’s lay down our lives for our families and for one another and be the type of people worth following and hanging around. Stop gawking at others humility outfits or encouraging a culture where pride is a masculine necessity. If we are not striving for humility, the default of pride will most certainly take over.