Thursday, June 28, 2012

Humility, humiliation, and the meek who will inherit the earth

You can ask any one of my boys and they will tell you that I love to be right. In fact, if ever they state the obvious truth, however unwillingly, I will usually ask them to repeat those glorious words "You're right, Mama." We laugh that it's my love language.

Prepare yourself to be shocked but here's a true confession: I'm not always right (gasp!). I've been known to be wrong, quite wrong, humiliatingly and famously wrong. I don't like it but there it is. Sometimes when my error is discovered I laugh it off. Sometimes I can deflect to someone else's fault. Sometimes I attempt a cover up. Sometimes, though, I have to swallow my pride (my insidious, prevalent pride!) and admit the ugly truth: I am wrong.

Such humiliation is difficult for somebody like me, someone who dearly loves being right, someone who takes great comfort in correct thought, correct conduct, correct attire. When I am wrong I feel foolish. I feel silly. I feel embarrassed. I am ashamed.

And, if truth be told, I've had plenty of opportunity to look foolish and to feel embarrassed. I am well acquainted with humiliation and its humbling effects. One of my most embarrassing and humbling moments ever involved me having to openly admit my foolish and wrong behavior to someone who already thought little of me. Picking up the phone to call that individual was one of the hardest and most humiliating experiences of my life.

I think I told you I'm working through a bible study on the Sermon on the Mount. For the past week or so I've been thinking about Jesus' promise of blessedness to the meek. Blessed are the meek, He says, for they shall inherit the earth. We know that meekness is an attribute our culture views with disdain if not outright censure. Of course the world feels that way; could anything be more countercultural than meekness?

As I see the pride of my life in my own love of being right--and being viewed as right--I think meekness is something we believers don't exactly strive after either. I've watched enough exchanges on blogs and Twitter, exchanges between believers mind you, that convince me that not only do we not seek an attitude of meekness in our social media relationships but that often we prize snarky ridicule and sharp retort over humility and gentleness.

What does it mean to be meek? Certainly there is inherent in the meekness a humility before the Lord and others. What happens when we are confronted with events and circumstances that cause us to want to advance our agenda or assert our rights, or when we feel our pride threatened? Me being wrong, for example, or utterly humiliated before my "enemy." How often, how quickly, I react in hurt and acrimony. But the meek have no need for anger or blame because they trust the Lord who works all things out according to His will.

Humiliation is painful to my inherent pride and sense of self esteem. I told you, I love being right. Nothing wrong with the fact of being right except I'm not always right (newsflash) and it's my wrongness that will prove my spiritual poverty when it reacts with embarrassment and indignation upon exposure.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, Jesus says, and blessed are those who see their poverty of spirit and mourn their destitute and desperate state before the Lord. As citizens of His kingdom, they will know His comfort and because they've been humbled before the undeserved bounty that is theirs in Christ, they will joyfully and eagerly serve the Lord and others with meekness and gentleness.

6 comments:

  1. Presented a devotional on this verse about meekness this past spring...it was challenging to learn more about what meekness means and how to practice it daily. It's even more challenging to live it now that I know more about it!!!!

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  2. Mocha with LindaJune 28, 2012 7:14 PM

    I'm RIGHT there with you, my friend! (Didn't even notice until I was typing that word and had to go back and capitalize it! LOL) This was so good and what I needed to read.

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  3. Well, you're right about humility and meekness :)

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  4. Great reminder!

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  5. Great reminder!

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  6. "But the meek have no need for anger or blame because they trust the Lord who works all things out according to His will."
    This is such a good post Lisa. My pride is so, as you say insidious and prevalent, that the Lord is always coming up with new ways to squash it in me. And it can really be painful. But my husband always reminds me that is evidence of His love for me.

    Thank you for these good words today.

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