I Want to Wear Humility

photo by  mcfarlandmo

photo by mcfarlandmo

Lately God has been dealing with my “pride.” Ugh!

That’s such an ugly word and admission!

I guess you could say, “it hurts my pride to say I struggle with pride!” How’s that for contradictory?!

So I’m trying to grasp and live out humility, especially whenever I feel that pride rearing its “ugly head.”

In 1 Peter 5:5b-6 it says,

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

I really wish that humility could be a physical piece of “clothing”maybe like a hoodie—that I could put on and wear. Then I’d always know when it’s wrapped around me, right? And since it’s a hoodie, I could cover that “ugly head of pride” whenever it rears up too!

But there’s a problem with that plan. Wouldn’t I be canceling out the very humility I thought I was “wearing” as soon as I believed that I was being “humble”?

Remember Jesus’ Parable about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14? The Pharisee prayed loudly for all to hear about the many ways he was obedient and righteous compared to the lowly tax collector who also prayed, but instead beat his breast and cried for God’s mercy.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but there’s actually a t-shirt that has the slogan, “I’m More Humble than You!” I bet this Pharisee would’ve really wanted to wear that t-shirt!

Unfortunately, I may attribute that slogan to the prideful Pharisee, but more times than not, I am guilty of living out this oxymoron—being “prideful” because I think I’m being “humble.”

I’ve been doing a series on forgiveness over the past few months and I believe that humility is absolutely essential to forgiveness. This means …

You and I must recognize that we’re just as much of a sinner as our offender {James 3:2}, before we can truly extend mercy. Otherwise, we’re just following the “letter of the law”—a pursuit that a Pharisee would certainly relish! But …

So in the weeks to come, I’m going to be presenting a special challenge regarding humility that I hope will bring you back around to join me! I think it could be the spark that brings you closer to your spouse and closer to God!

 

Who or what get’s that ugly head of pride rearing up in your life?

 

How do you think you can know if you’re being humble?

 

 

Photo by mcfarlandmo and graphic changes were made by Beth Steffaniak

 

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Linking up with – Marriage MondaysMaking Your Home Sing Monday, Living Proverbs 31, Sunday Stillness, Monday’s MusingsMarriage, Motherhood and Missions, and Playdates with God

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  • http://www.creeksideministries.blogspot.com/ Linda@Creekside

    Lovely. And I’m sure you would have appreciated my ‘I LOVE MY ATTITUDE PROBLEM’ tee that I proudly wore in high school. Makes me wonder about pride covering up places where we feel we lack something, somehow …

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      I actually thought the humble t-shirt was hilarious, Linda, and yours sounds like a hoot too! You and I would’ve gotten along great in high school with our “attitude problems!” ha! Yes, pride often is a cover up for insecurity, but sometimes we start to believe our own “press.” Not that I’d ever know what that’s like! ha!

  • Mary

    Pride rears up mightily when I get caught up in the comparison game. I ask “why is he/she getting all the praise when I did just as well?” I would love to say that it then takes me to a place of humility but many times I am internalizing the pride allowing it to consume rather than handing it over to God. Can’t wait to hear more about this in the future!!! Happy Sunday to you!

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Oh, yes! I was thinking about that when I wrote this, Mary. Like minds! :) And like you, what might have started as a loving and purely sacrificial act turns into green-eyed monster of pride or discontentment because someone else got the glory. There’s a verse that reminds me of what you’ve said about the “consuming” power of envy and pride, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the
      bones.” Prov. 14:30

  • http://messymarriage.com/ Kimberly Green

    Oh, man! I signed into Discus AFTER I typed my comment and now it’s gone and now I can’t remember what I wrote. And that stuff was BRILLIANT, too! Shoot! Isn’t it amazing how many excuses PRIDE can come up with? Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’ve perfect in every way. The concept that PRIDE and FORGIVENESS are fundamentally incompatible is truly mind blowing. I have seen people looking for reconciliation who may be told they are forgiven, but really, they are offered a kind of condition based manipulation by the proud hurt person. And some people live like that for years until they get so frustrated that they decide “forgiveness” just ain’t worth the hassle. How beautiful true forgiveness is for both sides! Pride hardens the heart, and bitterness eats the soul. Forgiveness always liberates and improves your life.

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Ha ha! Oh I know, KImberly! I write “brilliant” stuff all the time and accidentally delete it. I’ve got a tricky right pinky that surges for that delete key all the time! And thanks for encouraging me–not puffing me up, mind you!–with your mind-blowing enthusiasm for the concept of pride and forgiveness! My mind is constantly combing over forgiveness issues lately but it’s God ALONE who makes anything of value come to the surface. I also love that God has given “you” the words to see how this prideful act of trying to forgive might look or feel on the receiving end. So good! I hadn’t thought through that aspect, so thanks for adding to the discussion, sweet friend!

  • JosephPote

    You know, I think false pride and false shame are closely related…flip sides of the same coin.
    And the only solution for either, that I’ve found, is spending frequent time with our Father, listening to His voice and learning to find my true identity in Him.
    It’s not a thing to ever be cured of…it requires frequent renewal…
    Blessings to you, my friend!

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yes, Joe, that secure identity is always and only established in our God. We sure get in trouble when we try to define it or let others define it. Thanks for stopping by and adding helpful thoughts to the conversation, my friend!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Interesting timing – I was just thinking about this last night.

    One of the things that keeps pride in check for me is my struggle with combat trauma. I’ve seen some things that I would not care to describe here, and when those memories come flooding back they erase pride, and a lot of other things, too – including self-confidence, and indeed, self-esteem.

    Pride is a danger to every Christian (and to those of other faiths, as well), but to some extent it, or its doppelgangers of self-worth and confidence, are necessary for effective action, and effective living in the faith.

    After a bout with PTSD yesterday, I found all of the underpinnings of confidence which animate my writing just flat gone. Nothing seemed to matter alongside the absolute horror of those memories, and it will be an effort to get ‘the meaning’ back.

    I know that pride and self-confidence are not quite the same thing, but I’m not sure that in our human condition we can completely separate them, and it may lower our ability to do God’s work if we assiduously try.

    The risk would seem to be that when we go after the ‘weeds’ of pride, we may not recognize the flowers that are ‘proud’ to be just what they are. We’re conditioned, as Christians, to strive for humility, but we don’t have the discernment needed to recognize that a Christ-like humility carries with it a level of firm confidence which can easily be mistaken for pride.

    And so we cut down the flowers with the weeds, and have to start growing the garden all over again.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/03/do-you-need-your-spouse.html

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Yes, you’ve articulated some of the confusing questions I have about where confidence ends and pride begins, Andrew. And I also agree that trying to separate them is practically impossible in our messy, lives here on the earth. I also love your thoughts on the weeds of pride and the flowers of healthy pride or security in God. You’ve given me much more to contemplate today, my friend!

  • http://3dlessons4life.com/ Lyli Dunbar

    Great post, Beth. I think pride is self serving, and humility is other’s focused. That’s a big “tell” for me — where is my focus?

    • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

      Thanks, Lyli! I appreciate you coming by. And yes, that’s a good rule of thumb, but I think the human condition even makes this too complex and confusing. What if what I do for others is so that I will be approved or win some kind of status? You may say, the end result is “self-serving.” And I would wholeheartedly agree, but I don’t know that in that moment–all the moments of life–we are able to fully see it so clearly. Thankfully God doesn’t ask us to see it, but instead trust Him to reveal it. :)

  • http://lauraboggess.com/ Laura Boggess

    A perfect series to begin the Lenten journey with, Beth. I love that image with the hoodie too. Made me smile. :)

  • Melody

    I stumbled upon a short little booklet by Tim Keller called, “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness” and it has been very instrumental in my battle with pride. He quotes Soren Kierkegaard in saying that Spiritual pride is the illusion that we are competent to run our own lives, achieve our own sense of self-worth and find a purpose big enough to give us meaning in life without God. I long to be fully reliant on God and sometimes I am but many times I slip back into doing things myself because I feel safer and in more control. I know better in my head and even in my heart – it’s just that flesh thing that trips me up. I look forward to your series. Nice to meet you!

  • busymomof10

    How can we tell if we are being prideful? If we are harboring bitterness and unforgiveness and if we are complaining and thinking we are being given less than we deserve. You are right on target when you said, ” We cannot be proud and forgivng at the same time.” We also can’t be proud and grateful at the same time . . . which is what I blogged about this week on Marriage Monday. Thanks so much for linking up with Marriage Monday again this week!