Perhaps you know of a friend or family member with qualities that make them attractive, yet these qualities have nothing to do with appearance, talent, intelligence or wealth. The Apostle Paul describes three such qualities in Ephesians 4:2. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Let’s talk about the first quality—humility.
When an abbot (a man who is the head of an abbey of monks) sought counsel from a rabbi regarding his declining monastery, the rabbi gave these parting words: “The Messiah is one of you.” The abbot repeated these words to his monks—with a curious result. The monks started treating each other differently lest one of them be the Messiah. Each man also began treating himself differently on the off chance that he was the Messiah. Soon the much-neglected monastery experienced an amazing renewal. Outsiders came to picnic on its lawn, stroll its paths, and worship in its chapel. Young men interacted with the older monks and began joining the monastery until it was once again a vibrant place. True humility attracts more and more people to its centre—building warm, respectful relationships that build a strong community.
Pride, on the other hand, a chief cause of strife and tragedy, portrays an undue sense of superiority. It keeps us from knowing God and accepting His Lordship. As well, it alienates us from others, causing isolation and loneliness. The following are a few symptoms of pride.
- Stealing from God’s glory and taking credit for gifts he has given us
- A demanding spirit
- A judgmental/critical attitude
- An unteachable spirit
- Self pity
To gain victory over pride, aim for its opposite—Christlikeness and humility. Be dependent on God, honest with yourself, and willing to come to terms with your fears and failures. Humility will bring healing and reconciliation.
In 1 Peter 5:5, the Apostle Peter explains how humility is foundational to our relationship with God and people. “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”
Mike Lorelli, a former top executive at Pizza Hut, knows how to build relationships with his staff. Often he would stop and talk to Mary, the cleaning woman—one of his favourite people. He treated her the same as any of Pizza Hut’s corporate office employees. Later, as life often turns out, he learned that Mary’s brother was his gardener. One day her brother stopped him and said, “Mr. Lorelli, you’re one of my favourite people in the world because you give time to my sister Mary who cleans in your building.” Mike Lorelli’s success comes from a humble attitude. Reaching out to include everyone, he shows his willingness to spend time with the least of his employees.
A humble person knows he is someone made in the image of God who should be treated with dignity and respect, yet keenly aware of his shortcomings trying not to think more highly of himself than he ought. A humble person is a lovable person.
How would people describe you? Do you compare yourself with others to measure your self-worth? Have you come to accept who you are? Are you content with who you are even while striving to grow and improve in whatever way you can?