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Theology of Humility

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by packermann, Dec 3, 2019 at 6:40 PM.

  1. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

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    The Lord has been teaching me a lot of humility lately. Here are my thoughts on how humility is the key to all the other virtues. The opposite of humilty is pride. Pride is a barrier to all virtues and all happiness.

    1. Pride is a hindrance to faith. It seems to me that most of the arguments against God appeals to our pride. It is like the devil whispering in our ear: Come on, you are smarter than this! We now trust in science, not silly superstitions of the past!

    We forget that with all our learning, we are still very ignorant of how things are. We know not even a teeny bit of what is out in the universe. Humility would make us realize that God is too great that we can figure out and reject.

    Humility would make us realize that apart from Christ we can do nothing. He is the vine and we are the branches. In looking back, I realize that the times I fell was when I no longer rested in Christ.

    I realized that the best thing when you are tempted with doubts, is to get on your knees and pray for God's help. He has never failed me when I did this. That was Eve's big mistake. Instead of praying to God, she tried to reason with the devil. I would encourage you not to do this without prayer. The devil is far too cunning for us. Be humble enough to admit it and rely on God to fight your battles.

    2. Pride is a hindrance to love. Pride makes me think that I am the center of everything. I use God and others for myself. I may be even so filled with pride that not do not realize how self-centered I am.

    Modernism says that the key to love is self-love; I cannot love others until I first love myself. Many Christians buy into this - that the reason we cannot have loving relationships is because we have a negative self-image. The more we feel good about ourselves the more we can love.

    I used to buy into this - but no more. This is the deception of Lucifer, who fell because he had such a good self-image that he thought he could be greater than God! This is not the teachings of Jesus. Blessed are the poor in spirit! He who seek to gain his life (and self-esteem) will lose it, but he who loses his life (self-esteem) for my sake will gain it.
    I realized that I need to see everyone as better than I, that everyone is more interesting than I, that everyone's problems are more important than mine, that everyone is more interesting than I. And, of course, I realized that I need to see that God is better than I, that God is more interesting than I, that God's glory more more important than mine. And the more I realize these things, the more I feel good about myself.

    3. Pride brings about depression. It makes me throw a pity party for myself. Poor me! Why do I have such a lousy job? Why do I have such a lousy spouse? Why do I have such rotten kids? Why can't I have a car like my neighbor? Why can't I be thin like the other guy? Why can't I have friends like this other guy? Why am I spending this Saturday on this forum instead of being on a date? Why am I not married? Why can't we have children? Why do we have children? Why am I stuck with being me?

    Pride is saying to yourself that you are too good not have things better - a better spouse, a better car, a better self. We see the glass half-empty instead of seeing it half-full. But humility is seeing it no matter how little there is in the glass it is still a lot more than you deserve. We deserved hell, if Christ did not save us. We deserved the worst of the worst. So no matter how much or how little there is in the glass, we praise God for it and we rejoice in what we have. It is more than what we should have received.

    4. Pride keeps you from finding the truth. Each one of us have temptation to find a knowledge that most Christians do not have. So we deviate from the truth. We have itching ears. We want the new ideas that fill us with pride because most Christians do not think that way. We can then look down on other Christians for not seeing this higher form of knowledge as we do.

    We must be humble to realize that if most Christians do not see what we see, then it is probably because we are wrong. It is not only Christians today. That would be chronological snobbery. It is looking at all Christians since the time of Christ. A Jehovah Witness once knocked on my door. I let him in and we discussed scripture verses for an hour. For every verse I had he had one on his side. He was feeling pretty smug about this. But when he was about to leave I asked him a question that took that smile off his face: "Your religion just started in the last hundred years, and most Christians even today do not agree with your beliefs. What are the odds that your small group has it right and every else has it wrong?" He went away without a smile.

    Don't think I am this real humble guy. I am not. I just had to apologize to someone on this forum for my pride and my judgmental attitude. I think the moment you think you are humble then you have lost it. So I am not there yet, and I must not ever think that I have ever arrived. But at least I see the value of humility and the ugliness of pride. That is helpful.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 7:06 PM
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  2. Akita Suggagaki

    Akita Suggagaki Well-Known Member

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    But we also need confidence and self respect. How else can we put ourselves out there to proclaim? It is a balance.
     
  3. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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  4. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    "Love your neighbor as your self."

    Do I really want to be loved by a neighbor (as he loves himself) if he is suicidal?
     
  5. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Indeed. I was raised in a faith tradition that said self hatred was a virtue. Any kind of letting anyone know your strengths and abilities was the sin of pride/arrogance.
     
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  6. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

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    My own personal experience is that I lack boldness because of pride. Pride makes me worry what people think of me. Humility makes me not care at all what others think of me. God respect is needed instead of self-respect. Another way to say God respect is to say the fear of God. I can't God but God can. When I am weak I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10) because then Christ can work through me.
     
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  7. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

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    It is not how you receive love but how you love.

    Anyway, we are no longer to love others as we love ourselves. Christ has give us a NEW commandment, one not in the OT (John 13:34). That one is far more more radical that the one in the old covenant. Now, we are commanded to love others as Christ loves us which is far more than we could ever love ourselves.
     
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  8. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

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    Paul called himself the least of all apostles (1 Corinthians 15:9) and the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). That can be construed as self-hatred. But we are called to be imitators of Paul as he is of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
     
  9. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Any boldness or even confidence was considered pride and self promotion.
     
  10. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

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    I agree that this was wrong. In my view, true humility will make you bold and confident - because your confidence is not in yourself at all but in the indwelling Christ. But we must go through the cross in order to get to resurrection (Philippians 3:10-11). We must first realize that apart from Christ we can do NOTHING (John 15:5) before we can ever realize that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

    Peter's denial of Christ devastated him. But this was what made him rely so much on the Holy Spirit after Pentecost and be filled with so much boldness that he refused to obey the Sanhedrin even if it meant his death.
     
  11. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    This is all very good. I'd add one thing though, maybe to shed light on one point. Aquinas taught that self-love is a natural, created good, whereas pride is a corruption of that very same good. So he referred to pride as "inordinate self-love", keeping in mind that everything God creates is inherently good-and moral evil or sin is simply a detraction or lessening or perversion of that good by choosing a lesser good, by an abuse of the gift of free will. He also described pride as an inordinate desire for one's own excellence, to see oneself as greater than they actually are IOW, epitomized by making oneself equal to God which was Adam's sin for all practical purposes. Ironically Adam actually fell, losing something of himself in the attempt at rising higher, no longer aligned with the truth of who he was-and who God is.
     
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  12. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    Humility is the beginning of wisdom. If we do not humble ourselves, we will surely be shamefully humiliated. And pride is the downfall of people whose spiritual lives are otherwise successful; monks are warned of the danger of pride in ancient books like The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. So a monk who achieves something via fasting and prayer risks losing it, because the devil will use a sense of accomplishment to inflate them with pride, and then shoot a flaming arrow to pop their vainglorious ballooned self.

    So I agree with you completely. I also have struggled with pride in the past.
     
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