Monday, March 2, 2015

Humility and Relationships

Chuckle: Grandson: "Grandpa, do you know how you and God are alike?"  While mentally polishing his halo, grandpa said, "how are we alike?'' "You're both old.”
Quote: "Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self." --Charles Spurgeon
“Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up” (James 4:10 NIV). “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”  (Ephesians 4:2 NIV).
What does it mean to humble ourselves before our Lord and others?  I ran across the following two stories which can teach us valuable lessons about humility.
1. In September of 1986, two Soviet ships, a liner and a freighter, collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. 398 passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship's presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. When they came to their senses, it was too late.
2. A former missionary told the story of two rugged mountain goats who met on a narrow mountainside pathway. On one side was a chasm 1,000 feet deep; on the other, a steep cliff rising straight up. There was no room to turn around, and the goats could not back up without falling. What would they do? Rather than fight for the right to pass, one of the goats knelt down and became as flat as possible. The other goat then walked over him, and they both proceeded safely.
The story about the mountain goats teaches us a valuable lesson about humility when compared to the stubborn pride of the ships captains. When Jesus left His heavenly home, He humbled Himself and paid the penalty for your sins and mine. He saw us literally trapped between our sin and God's righteousness with no way to help ourselves -- no way of escape. He came in humility and took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-8). Then, by dying for sinful mankind, He let us "walk over Him" so that we could experience forgiveness and receive eternal life.
By His humility, Jesus took the penalty for our sins upon Himself. Peter pointed to Christ as an example of humility. When we are mistreated for Jesus' sake, we must learn to be humble enough to let others walk over us if need be. This is not a sign of weakness but of strength and true humility. Such a response, when done for Christ's sake, brings glory to His name.
Jesus said, ". . ., whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26-28 NIV). Does stubborn pride dictate the way we relate to others? Will we humble ourselves for the sake of others and for God's glory?
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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