“..You who are younger…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud and shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5: 5)
I do not need to repeat the well-known adage, “Pride comes before a fall”, although I just did. And here’s the Bible version: “Before a downfall, the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor” in Proverbs 18:12! Whether you’re watching Lion King or reading an account of an overbearing politician, or of an eminent personality who had humble beginnings, you will only know this to be true.
Obviously, humility has an undeniable connection with our relationship with Christ. All of us wish to go to heaven but at the same time, most of us believe in shortcuts. And in the present state of affairs, with technology accelerating our lives for us, we rather text or ‘Whatsapp’ a ‘sry’ or ‘sorry’ to someone than do it the ‘old-fashioned’ way or probably the more appropriate manner- presenting an apology in person and accompanying it with a contrite gesture.
So when did this trend of growing youth pride arise? Oh well! Unfortunately enough, youth as always been associated with pride, from even the days of the Prodigal Son. But it doesn’t always have to be like that, does it? Humility is attractive, and always has been. And more importantly, it is attractive to God, who in the end, we have to please!
When I think about my unfortunate encounters with pride, be it with other people or myself, I realize that it stems from our approach towards to other people, rather than our own self-esteem. We must accept that the fact that everyone is fairly entitled to an opinion and that no one’s views are superior to another’s. And when we fail to do so, we simply aren’t seeing the forest through the trees.
Let’s just take our daily interactions with our peers into perspective. Climbing the corporate ladder, achieving goals through teamwork, smoothly organizing events- all of these take less tension when everyone is as humble as they are supposed to be. Though it may be hard for us to ascertain, worry is actually a form of pride! And in my experience, it can definitely show lack of faith. If we constantly worry about things, we’re basically expressing that we don’t trust God enough for it all to go away or that He will get us through it- in other words, we’re too proud to leave it up to Him! As youth of comparatively lower patience levels, we probably know by now- that God plays our life by testing our patience, and humility. When we humble ourselves, he lifts us up in due time, says the Bible (1 Peter 5:6).
Also, complacency is a form of pride. When we feel situations can’t get any worse (when we lack faith that God can’t change a situation) or when we are gifted with talents and certain abilities that we owe to God, but don’t thank Him for it, and credit ourselves instead, we’re not exactly being humble! Of course, we can turn this around by thanking Him at the end of our day- let’s not forget that He was actually responsible for the way things went that day!
Interestingly enough, pride wasn’t just human, but divine once. At the time of the Fall, Lucifer, the renegade archangel gave in to pride as he felt he needed to be worshipped. He thought he was worthy of the praise given to God- but this very pride of his, brought his ruin- he was stripped of his position, his glory and his beauty. At the same time, humility can now be human- as was clearly exemplified by Moses. Very early on, in Exodus 34:8-9, Moses realized that we are a ‘stiff-necked people’, unworthy of God’s presence and hence, we need to be humble in order for Him to walk amongst us.
So while we have a lot to flaunt at this particular age, there are a couple things we could do to do our humble bit for the Lord- like breaking social cliques and conveying more genuine and expressive apologies. Learn to hate pride, avoid ego and communicate this by saying ‘sorry’ faster than you usually do, irrespective of the circumstances. After all you’ve got nothing to lose, except pride. Start giving credit of your achievements to God and other people you respect- they’ll appreciate you. Try not to point out faults, by doing so, you’re merely assuming you know better- and that’s ego, isn’t it?
Also, your tithes may be small because you probably don’t earn yet. But that’s not how you measure up to God anyway. There are various other small ways in which you can assist your parish, which still have great value- after all service equals leadership.
Yes, yes, I know, it’s hard to do all of that all at once. But that’s what the Lord requires of us- he states it so clearly in Micah 6:8, “Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God”. And when we have taken up this challenge, he promises to have our back in Psalm 25:9, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way”.