The Problem with Humility Culture in the Church

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself, its about thinking of yourself less”. -C.S Lewis

There is no doubt about it, humility is at the base of Christian values. Jesus said, “Whoever becomes humble like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Colossians 3:12 states as God’s chosen people that we are to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, The opposite of pride (one of the seven deadly sins), is humility. I don’t think it’s even possible to receive God’s grace without being humble. (Although, I have seen people compete to be the most humble of all God’s servants, but doesn’t that just bleed back into being prideful?)

Anyway,

So when does humility actually become a problem? It doesn’t. The understanding people have of humility does. Too many people believe that to be humble, means we have to despise ourselves. We are the lowest of the low. Sinners not worthy of God’s grace. Nope.

We are made a new creation in Christ when we are saved.

I’m sorry, but who in the world wants to be around someone that is always putting themselves down? How depressing. The basics of being humble really needs to be retaught in our homes and churches to make sure our children understand the difference between humility and self loathing. I didn’t know the difference growing up. I shied away from my accomplishments wanting so badly to tell someone what a good job I did, but I thought it was wrong. Pride is relishing in our own accomplishments with an inflated sense of self. It’s the inability to grow and learn because we know all the answers already. It’s putting yourself above others and feeding your ego. Pride is selfishness and it does come before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). This is totally different, but its easy to get confused (especially as a child) if we do not have the proper guidance.

Biblical humility is understanding that we need God. He is our strength in our weakness, our helper in times of need, and our comforter. We cannot do this life alone. Being proud of yourself for acing a test you studied hard for, is not wrong. Wanting to tell the world that you are finally sober is not wrong. Loving yourself IS NOT WRONG. In fact, self loathing is a sin. We are not supposed to despise and be ashamed of who we are. Gah, that would be such a sad existence.

This misunderstanding of humility ends up causing guilt and shame. A feeling that we will never be good enough. It results in depression and low self esteem. Guilt and shame are things Jesus died on the cross for. We should feel conviction when we do something wrong as a reminder not to do it again. Sometimes it might linger until we make the situation right, and that’s what conviction is supposed to do (2 Cor. 7:10). Guilt though, is a lie from the devil. He will tell you that you’re worthless, no one likes you, you don’t deserve peace, or that you must pay. None of that is true. FOR ANY OF US.

My prayer as of late has been to distinguish right from almost right. The enemy is sneaky, he’s not very smart, but he does know how to blur the lines. Praying for God to shine light on the shadows in our hearts should be regular prayer of ours (Psalm 139:23) so we can be aware of false biblical concepts that have somehow taken root in our minds. If we aren’t using a true biblical model of humility, we can easily be convinced that to be humble, is to hate one’s self.

When God saved us, we were made new. We are to rejoice, and be glad! (Psalm 68:3). God created us all unique. We all have something to offer this world and we are all here to inspire one another. Humility is thanking God for sending his son to die for us. Realizing God’s true power will make us stand in awe of how awesome it really is to be loved by the creator of the universe. God gave us our strengths, gifts, and abilities. Thank him of course, and then share your abilities with the world.

We do not honor God by hating ourselves after he has given his son to die for us. It only shows that we do not understand the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God is love. We are to love God with our entire hearts, souls, and minds. This is the first and GREATEST commandment. The second? To love you neighbor AS YOURSELF. Loving yourself is one of the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) After all, Jesus thought you were to die for. ❤

Look if you are proud of yourself for losing 20 pounds, tell the world (just don’t forget where the strength to lose that weight came from). If you passed the bar exam, share it on all your social media platforms (just remember who was standing beside you during all those late night study sessions). If you have been asked to speak at a conference, thank God for the opportunity, get up there, and inspire some people! If you decide to embrace your gray hair at 34 because you love the person you are becoming, aging and all (I’m talking about myself here) then be proud of that (and I am)!

To me, to be humble, is to be in constant state of thanksgiving for all that God has done for me, and to show others the same love that I feel from God every day.

“Seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Micah 6:8

 

 

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