Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 (NIV)
Gratitude is the Way to Humility – The Gratitude Series – Part 6
Gratitude makes us humble.
Humility is a difficult thing to talk about, because usually those who talk about how humble they are, aren’t really all that humble.
Humility is simply understanding the web in which you live. Some would say that it's thinking of yourself less, and others more. But even that fails to interpret the tradition of the word. To understand humility is to do away with inferiority and superiority altogether. Greatness and humility are not incompatible. More often than not, where you find one, you’ll find the other.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10.
This verse doesn’t mean that you need to grovel and do an “I’m not worthy” pose before God. It means that you understand who you are, and your connection to The Divine and others. It’s what we do when we “come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” (Heb 4:16).
“Humility — true humility — is one of the most expansive and life-enhancing of all virtues. It does not mean undervaluing yourself. It means valuing other people. It signals a certain openness to life's grandeur and the willingness to be surprised, uplifted, by goodness wherever one finds it.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
Humility acknowledges the flow of life that happens between people and the earth and The Divine. The connectedness of it all. It doesn’t de-value our place in the world but brings the place of others up to meet ours. Or vice versa. Humility levels the playing field.
In “Letters and Papers from Prison,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”
We’re all connected. Humility is the understanding of this connection. Gratitude is the way there.