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The "H" Factor

Like pride, the closets of humility are filled with different hats and clothes for different occasions.

Popular opinion regards it as a doormat personality, and maybe even pride in disguise. Yet our books of common language describe it as the kind of realistic view of ourselves that is necessary to share the pain or joys of others.

The more I think about it, I’m convinced that, while pride is a great imposter, humility has many faces as well.

Leading humility-While being known for making followers, the “H” factor can also produce leaders. Putting the needs of others before our own self-interest can be a strong motivation for taking the risks of leadership.

Hating humility-While the right kind of humility knows how to love, it hates anything that threatens the well-being of others.

Defending humility-Although humility is known for “turning the other cheek” in response to insults, it can use physical force against an enemy if the situation is serious enough to call for personal, domestic, or national defense.

Receiving humility-Known for giving sacrificially to meet the needs of others, humility also knows when to gratefully receive help and kindness.

Laughing humility-While knowing how to cry, healthy humility spends a good deal of its time laughing with the joys of others and enjoying the favor of God.

Discontented humility-Most people see humility as a willingness to be satisfied with what it has been given. But nothing is as dissatisfied as a healthy humility that sees unfulfilled potential, or the needs of others being ignored.

Self-protective humility– It won’t indifferently protect itself at the expense of others. But it knows when to look after its own interests to avoid becoming burned out and useless.

If these examples work to show the many faces of humility, they should also show that humility is neither superficial nor pride in disguise. The mirror opposite of a proud heart is just another way of looking at love. When we genuinely care for the needs of others– in the Spirit of Christ– pride is displaced by humility.

Seems to me that there is no better description of humility than that given to us by the apostle Paul. While pointing his readers to the example of Christ, he wrote, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus . . .” (Philippians 2:3-5).

I think this is the kind of attitude James has in mind when he tells us that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

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5 Responses to “The "H" Factor”

  1. daisymarygoldr says:

    Thank you for another inspirational nugget! Thinking this deep is too much for my fuzzy mind handle:)Humility comes with the knowledge that when we think ‘we know’ everything we actually ‘know nothing’. Our earthly wisdom cannot comprehend the things that the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard. Any wonder God has chosen to reveal ‘His wisdom’- Jesus Christ, through the foolish things of this world (1 Cor 1)? We walk by faith and not by sight- hence we are blind. What then can we boast about? We are certainly not proud of being proud (Rom12: 3) and not humble in being humble (Col 2: 23 NIV). Therefore, being sinners saved by grace, we boast in the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24; 2 Cor 10:17) while putting on the humility of Christ (Col3:12)!

  2. poohpity says:

    I believe that true humility is laying down your deity, power and authority, and living with your creation. … Our humility comes with realizing we were not meant to go this journey alone and learn to see God in all of His creation and respect it and each other. My humility comes from not continually focusing on whether I am proud or humble but in my need for help to complete and enjoy this journey.

  3. dep7547 says:

    Absolutely! Humility must examine the heart that receives it with graciousness. I think one of the most beautiful messages that I have ever heard was about all of the emotions that David went through when he composed “Psalm 51”. After Samuel had made it clear to David that God had allowed his own name to be defamed in order to instruct David in the way of righteosness–David had no choice but to tearfully write this psalm with Godly sorrow. That is the way I have come to understand the fear of the lord. It is not so much being afraid of punishment as it is having that gut-wrenching feeling that we have disappointed him.

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