Customer after customer seemed to challenge my pride. Maybe it was the day, maybe it was the pull of the moon (I don’t know), but condescension was running high. They seemed to look me in the face and ask boldly, “do you even know what you’re doing?” And my sense of importance in the workplace seemed to shatter a little more with each one. My patience was wearing to the threads. My voice was pitching on sticky sweet. And my pride was pulsing and prodding me to anger.
Have you ever felt the punch of someone’s pride, and felt your own rise in defense?
Lessons in humility are slowly advancing over my own pounding pride. The pride that goads me to spit the fire words and reign the victor. Though my pride often rises to my defense, it only infiltrates as my ally.
Pride is the enemy parading behind allied lines, acting mighty, but seeking to destroy.
Culture often speaks to us about pride, reminding us daily to fight our own battles, defend our own pride. We see this in the endless Twitter battles. The Facebook comments. The customer-service lines. And, honestly? We see it in ourselves.
Because it’s hard to turn the other cheek while the other is still red and stinging. It’s hard to make ourselves nothing, when the other person really believes we are nothing. And yet, that’s what Jesus did.
I’ve been reading through the Proverbs, and I’m struck by how often the tongue is mentioned. The words that jab like a knife. The words that come quick without thought. It seems that our mouth and our heart are very close kin. Same vein. “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” And so often those words are not humble. For me, anyway. Not the true, heart-humility.
Humility is willingly letting someone think that they are better than you, and being kind and loving to them anyway. It’s giving and giving and giving of the self. Jesus spent His whole life giving away, until the last drops were poured out on the cross. And then, when it seemed He had no more to give, He came back and loves us still. It’s an almost unfathomable humility. A total abandonment to God.
Because, in the end, humility has the abundant life stored away in Heaven, eternal riches. Pride lasts for a moment and then leaves us poorer than it found us. The cost of humility is little compared to the gain. Even though the cost seems so much in the moment.
So we’re praying, Holy God, walker of humility, let our lives reflect Your own.