As we begin the Season of Lent I can’t think of a single word that is more profound for us than humble. I also can’t think of one that is harder for us to accomplish.
From a dictionary: Humble 1. Not proud; modest. 2. Low in position or condition; not important or grand. 3. To make humble; make lower in position, condition, or pride. ‘Humble in defeat. Humbled by defeat.’
Of course our example is Jesus. “You made Him a little lower than the heavenly beings.” Psalm 8:5 Jesus also washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus went to the cross for our sins before we were ever born. Jesus tells us to ‘turn the other cheek’ when people hate us. Some have misunderstood Jesus and what it means to be humble.
Jesus remained humble as He overturned the tables in the Temple. Jesus remained humble when He answered the high priest questioning if He was “the Christ, the Son of God.” and He said, “Yes, it is as you say. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Matthew 26:63-64
Sometimes humble is very submissive, as when Jesus chose to allow the soldiers to beat Him. Other times humble is confessing our submission to God no matter the consequences in this life.
The primary times for us to be humble are first before God confessing all of our sins and resting in His mercy for forgiveness and second when we are serving others. Both should flow from the same joy of being a Child of God.
There is an old tale that Benjamin Franklin carried a list of ten things with him every day. They were the things he wanted to work on in order to improve himself. The story says he had the word humble on the list, and after working on it for a long time he confidently removed it one day. On reflection, he decided to put it back on the list and never took it off again figuring that he could never claim to be truly humble.
As with our forefather, we too should be works in progress. We should continue to work and to serve all the while attempting to be honest with ourselves, listening to those around us, and seeking to be a better model of humility for all. If Ben was right, we will always have the opportunity to improve and the joy of knowing that we are forgiven by the only one who actually achieved being truly humble, our Lord and Savior, Jesus.