“The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.” St. Augustine
Pondering “humility” and “humiliation” has reminded me of times in my life when I was humiliated. Like when I was in high school and got caught talking to the girl next to me after she asked me a question and just before the English teacher began his class. He asked me to get up, without a chance to defend myself (and the other girl did not stand up for me either), had me stand in one of the very back corners of the classroom, facing towards that corner. I had to stand there the entire period. I was humiliated. I was a normal kid, pretty quiet, very respectful, well behaved, most of the time. But this teacher, Mr. Wyatt, had a problem with me and I never knew what it was. The humiliation hung around my neck like an albatross for eons, it seemed.
Humiliation is an injury to our dignity or self-respect. Humiliation comes from the Latin root “humilis” meaning lowly, “on the ground”, which is from the root “humus”, meaning earth. So literally, it can mean “reducing to dirt”. That is what I felt like… dirt!…before the whole class of adolescent teenagers. Devastated … for one such as I!
At that point in my life, I did not understand the following words of Jesus, not that I wholly do today either, but I would rather be humble and accept that which comes my way rather than fight or even stand up for myself:
Matthew 5:39 – 45 “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
“If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
“Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
But I believe that I did that for I took it and accepted the consequences.
Blessed are the meek (humble; gentle), for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
Humility is recognizing and accepting our limitations based on as accurate an estimate of our importance and significance as possible.
From Old French umelite, humility means “humility, modesty, sweetness”, from Latin humilitatem (nominative humilitas) “lowness, insignificance”, in Church Latin “meekness,” from humilis “humble”
Humble and meek dance together at times and can mean “gentle, quiet, unaggressive; benevolent, kind; courteous, humble, unassuming.” These words do intertwine and disconnect and then re-twist themselves about one another. God’s Word is how we really need to look at these words.
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud,but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,…. 2 Corinthians 3:5
“Humility is to make a right estimate of oneself.” Charles Spurgeon
LORD, I pray that I would be the humble servant You desire me to be. I desire to grow more and more like You. And I need You to do this. And I want this more than anything. Help me to understand what it really means to be humble and be filled with humility. Teach me, O LORD.
My gratitude sprays out this day as the ocean waves do when they rush ashore. I am grateful for the unconditional love of God, for my beautiful Mama I recently lost, for His grace to get me through this time in my life, for being able to be near to her for these past fifteen years, for healing my body through these four surgeries, for teaching me humility. I am in love with You, LORD. Amen.
Child graphics: unknown/a copy of a picture I had on my wall as a child
2 Scripture graphics: www.heartlight.org