Humility means putting God and other persons ahead of our own selfish interests, and considers that God’s creation transcends our own narrow interests. It demands respect of others. Rather than, “Me first,” humility allows us to say, “No, you first, my friend.” It encourages us to meet the needs and demands of others.
Humility is a major biblical theme because allows peace and harmony with all persons, dissipates anger and heals old wounds, regards human dignity and distinguishes wise from arrogant leaders. Humility does not deny one’s worth, rather affirms inherent human worth. Wealth, power or status gained at the expense of others brings only anxiety – never peace and love.
“It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:19)
Wisdom cannot be found or practiced through arrogance or anger. As servants of God, we must respect all of God’s creation, including humanity. Pride brings dishonor and humility wisdom.
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-4)
The Golden Rule contains a lot of wisdom. If we wish to be loved, we must love first. If we wish to be respected, we must respect all persons, even those we despise. If we wish to be fulfilled in our lives, we must share generously with others.
Words may influence human relationships including war or peace for the words we say or write have tremendous power over good or evil. Gossip is an act of hostility intended to harm someone’s reputation. We must avoid the temptation to harm someone’s character as an act of prejudice or revenge – prevent and avoid character assassination. Rather than criticizing others, we should look for virtues in them and try to correct our vices for judgment belongs to God.
No one makes us angry, because anger is our own emotional response to events, and is sometimes based on a misinterpretation of events. Anger may block communication and escalate hostilities.
It is all too easy to react to life’s annoyances and disappointments with anger. It is far more challenging, but much better, to react with understanding and empathy. In this way, we can quickly settle disputes and avoid turning minor incidents into major conflicts. The humble demeanor is a perfect tool for preventing disputes and hard feelings.
“A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.” (Proverbs 29:11)
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)
A grudge deprives us of energy, can consume us with hatred, and block enjoyment of life. A grudge clouds our judgment and may lead us to revenge. Bearing a grudge and seeking revenge are never appropriate responses to a perceived wrong. Jesus told us we must reconcile with our adversaries, forgive their transgressions, and dissipate anger.
“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)
“An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.” (Proverbs 29:22)
It is easy to respond to anger with even more anger, but when we respond to anger with empathy and love, we can often break the cycle of hatred and convert even our enemies into friends. Jesus taught us to love our enemies.
“There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)