This morning I spoke at our mid-school bible conference. This weekend our youth pastor is leading the teens through the idea that service is humility in action. I loved the idea. My part was to talk about humility.
I've read a lot about humility...read a lot of books, articles and different opinions. I'm not satisfied with the conclusions. They all seem vague, unclear and leave a lot out. In thinking about humility this week as I prepared I thought about my own mid-school days and realized that humility was never a problem for me, but humiliation was! Mid-school, in my day, was where all the bullies asserted their dominance over the rest of us. They were difficult years. I doubt it has changed much.
As I thought about the subtle difference between the words, humility and humiliation, it struck me that it all boils down to this- humility is something I choose, a decision I make, an identity I take. Humiliation is an identity chosen for me, forced upon me by another.
Here is a simple definition as I thought about this topic- humility is believing God's story about me and living it out. Humiliation is believing someone else's story about me...even if it's a good one... and living that out. Both are choices I make, both are identities I take, but how different they look as I live it out!
We are in the midst of a humiliated culture, believing and living out the identities imposed upon us by others instead of humble people believing God's narrative about us and living that out.
What a big difference a word makes. Whose story have you believed? What has driven your life and actions? A humble response to God or a humiliated response to others?
1 Peter 5:5-6- all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.
Colossians 3:12- So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.