PRIDE vs. Humility
Originally Published 2020.01.28 (about 45 days before lockdown)
Sir Knight wanted to hear about humility as it is a struggle to practice this in our world, which covets pride, power, hubris, and so much more. Pursuing this topic is a noble pursuit as it is all-encompassing, but I shall endeavor to condense it down to bLOG length.
First, Sir Knight, we must see that our culture has suffered from hubris since the beginning of humanity from the moment prideful humanity decided to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus began the suffering from the lie that we could be like God. Whether you believe this story from Genesis 3 to be factual or metaphorical, the truth remains; upon the sin of pride, all others are built!
Here is an example: Immediately following the ejection from the Garden, human pride ( lack of humility) leads to disaster. Cain kills his brother because Abel’s sacrifice was more acceptable. His pride introduces us to the first son of pride, murder.
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Genesis 11 shows us how pride gets in the way as the people band together to create a city and a tower that will reach in heavens. They think they can do anything, fix anything, be anything. They want to see eye to eye with the God who used to walk in the garden with their ancestor. This is not a human longing for their God; it is an attempt to be gods.
Move ahead in history, and you find people who think they can play God. Israel demands an earthly king to take the place of God in leading them. Yahweh (much to Samuel’s chagrin) gives them Saul the Benjamite. How did that work out for them?
Even Saul’s replacement, a man after God’s own heart, tries to play God having a man killed so that he could have his wife. And yet, a merciful God builds his promise of the Messiah upon the life of King David.
From Eden to Exodus to Exile, pride plays a primary role in getting in the way of the relationship between God and his people. And that parade continues passing through history right into our neighborhood. The more things change, the more they remain the same!
Recently, I watched the Netflix movie called “The Two Popes.” At one point, the two men are sitting and talking about the differences in how they approach serving God. Cardinal Bergoglio (later to be Pope Francis) says to Pope Benedict that humans cannot be God, but God can be human. He then points to a painting of Jesus. The character points out that the final and ultimate answer to human pride and all its spawn is the One who came down from Heaven and became one of us. He is the personification of humility; He is the embodiment of it.
The Apostle Paul understood this when he wrote his letter to the Philippians. He inserts in it words that have become known as the Christ Hymn:
…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:6-11
Beautiful words, but the statement introducing this hymn speaks to humility in such a practical and powerful way. He tells us to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (see verse 3)
So there is your answer Sir Knight! You cannot be God because you are human, but God is human in Christ, and therefore we are all called to imitate him. At home, on the street, at work, and in church, be like him; put the needs of others on the same plain as your own. Love your neighbor as yourself, and therefore you will love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is what Paul means when he says to have the mind of Jesus.
I could go on and on and on, but that would be too long for bLOG-worthiness. I humbly leave you with Jesus’ words from his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor (humble, full of humility) in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3