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I grew up believing a few pretty important misconceptions about humility. Perhaps you have tried to live out some of these as well.

  1. Humility means I almost always defer to the preferences of others.
  2. Humility means I am careful not to appear overly confident and instead appear more uncertain since confidence comes across as toxic behavior.
  3. Humility means that while I may do good things here and there, my basic core problem is that I’m bad and should constantly battle with myself to maintain a sober (or sometimes somber) impression of myself.

My understanding came from somewhat of a misunderstanding of my core value as a believer…there are none that are righteous, no not one…which is often understood as there are none that are good, lovely, or valuable, no not one.

This problem is rooted in understanding righteousness as the same thing as value and Jesus never communicated that in any way.

There are none that are inherently righteous on their own, but Jesus showed us that everyone is good (we still bear God’s image) and valuable (Jesus died on the cross for us).

Try to think of any event in scripture where Jesus walked up to someone and said something to the effect of “First off, recognize that you are bad and without value”.
You can’t.
Jesus never approached people like this.

Instead Jesus said we are good, we are important, we are valuable and God’s love for us is immeasurable.

Humility is not about the perpetual state of being subservient to others because we are inherently bad and without value. Humility is the recognition of just the opposite. We are loved and incredibly valuable to God AND SO IS EVERYONE ELSE!

Humility doesn’t require you to lower yourself, it means we raise up everyone else to the same place that we have. Jesus said it this way:

30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30–31 (ESV)

Not more than yourself, not less than yourself, AS yourself.

Jesus also said this:

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 (ESV)

Do to others what you wished they would do to you. Again no ascribing of value over or under another, just see the equal value in each other.

Jesus clearly taught that we all have equal value and should treat each other as such.

In this understanding of humility, confidence is not toxic. Confidence is shared, given BY God and each other TO each other, if you will. It is rooted in the knowledge that we are all loved equally, we are all created with equal value and God doesn’t see some of us as less than others so we shouldn’t either.

Can you imagine what a world lived out like this would look like?
It makes more sense why the early church sold everything so everyone had an equal quality of economic life.
They were seeking equality in all things.

It would be great to live in a world like this but you know as well as I do that this is a foreign concept to the world…sometimes even to Christians. That’s one of the reasons that we respond to being hit on the cheek with turning the other cheek and when someone asks for our coat, we give them our shirt. Even those who mean us harm or to elevate themselves by taking what is ours are to be treated with love, respect and as people who share equal value.

What if you walked humbly with God just as Micah exhorted us to? How would your day to day life be different? How would your relationships be different? How would your social media presence be different. How would our churches and communities change?

I haven’t always understood humility in this way, but I am committed to living it out to the best of my ability.

Can we walk humbly with our God, together? I think that is much of what Jesus always intended for us to do all along.

Pastor Mark

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