This week, as I navigated the days and came to the point of writing, so many things are swirling in my head. For instance, I am always thinking about our broken political landscape and the polarization of our country along with the struggle of churches (Christ Church included) to respond well. I was thinking of the #metoo campaign and the pain many of my sisters in Christ who have experienced degradation at the hands of men. I was thinking of the racial issues that smolder in our country and in our churches. I was thinking about shootings in Las Vegas that are sensationalized, but quickly forgotten. I was thinking about bombings in Mogadishu that are equally deadly, but barely make a blip in our comfortable Western lives. As I think about these events (and many others) maybe my most honest response is with the Psalmist “How long O Lord?” “Will you forget us forever?” (cf. Psalm 13).
The truth is I don’t know how to respond to (or comment on) each of these issues, at least not wholly. Yes, I can identify Scriptural principles and prisms to examine them by. I can pray, which is no small thing. I can turn off Netflix, discontinue Facebook, go out and love my neighbor, get involved in my community, listen, share, serve. But really, in order to do any of it well, I need a heart that is humbled in the truths of the Gospel.
Peter puts it this way, "Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:5-7) It is interesting how Peter groups anxiety with humility. Part of our struggle when we face the complexities of the world is the feeling that we need to have THE answer, when what God invites us to in the Gospel is to clothe ourselves with humility. What is humility? It is a posture that listens, walks alongside, doesn’t have all the answers (or feel the need to post them on social media), lies prone, prays. It is the belief that though I am more broken than I ever could have imagined, I am more loved in Christ than I ever could dare hope. It is the freedom to confesses shortcomings and wrongdoings, to believe the best about people, to forgive. Humility is not just one in a pantheon of virtues, but as Augustine once said, “If you plan to build a tall house of virtues, you must first lay deep foundations of humility.”
However, humility is not something we achieve by deciding to be humble. Humility is achieved by looking at Christ; immersing ourselves in the Gospel; practicing repentance and engaging faith. Humility is born in the prayer closet, but practiced in community. Humility is a worthy endeavor.