Hard to be humble when you’re perfect
By “Deacon G” Gautrau
It is likely that we heard those words and while we couldn’t yet talk, our minds absorbed those first comments that were building us up. Heck, we may have been ugly as pig slop, but nobody ever says, “That’s the ugliest kid I’ve ever seen!”
I remember my parents being so proud that I began reading the newspaper when I was 5 years old. Now there are children reading and operating computers at 3 or younger. Are children really that much smarter or was my parent’s pride misplaced? Were they planting seeds that affected how I would grow emotionally?
Later at ages 7 and 8 my team won baseball “championships.” I have the trophies to prove it. But did my teams really win or did everyone win the “championship?”
I remember going to the ball park, but I couldn’t tell you if I ever hit the ball. For all I know I sat the bench half the time. Do parents build us up so much that we begin to feel better than we really are? Is this their way of showing us love? Should we go through life with an inflated sense of our status or accomplishments?
I will admit that those actions by our parents are much better than negative comments and behaviors that can tear down and destroy a young mind, never allowing it to mature into a well-rounded and loved individual, but we have to experience a reality that blends positive reinforcement, which motivates good deeds, against warranted disciplinary action for failure to do or accomplish what we truly should.
How many of us go through life continuously seeking affirmation? We need to accomplish something, anything, so that someone will notice and slap us on the back; and if no one notices, then we’ll tell everyone what a great job we’ve done until someone relents and gives us our praise.Some people carry this to such an extreme that it affects their marriages. During the courtship phase of a relationship, each party tells the other how good they are, how much they mean to each other and how much they love them. Too much of a good thing isn’t good. Once the couple is married, they find out that the other person isn’t perfect. They stop affirming their spouse and slowly the marriage dies because one or both partners have this unrealistic expectation that they will always be perfect in the eyes of the other. They no longer “feel the love”. The pride monster is not getting fed! The couple has never experienced the gift of humility.
So what is humility and why is it a gift? Humility is the ability to lower ourselves in relation to others, to have a sense of our unworthiness due to imperfections or to not have false pride. It is a gift because it allows us to relate to others as equals and because “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Humility helps us throw perfection out the window and to live as Christians, doing to others as we would have them do to us.
Let’s take time during Lent to reflect on the ultimate example of humility, Jesus Christ, the only perfect man, who humbled himself by dying for our sake; and the next time we’re about to proclaim to someone that we’re king of the world, let’s remember what the “King of heaven and earth” said about that, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt 23:12).
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