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Humility

Article FromWATAKI.COM


"like the sun which shines on all alike, vainglory beams on every occupation.  what i mean is this.  i fast, and turn vainglorious.  i stop fasting so that i will draw no attention to myself, and i become vainglorious over my prudence.  i dress well or badly, and am vainglorious in either case.  i talk or i hold my peace, and each time i am defeated.  no matter how i shed this prickly thing, a spike remains to stand up against me."
- john climacus, desert father.

"i'm not humble.  and i'm not just saying that so that you'll think that i'm a good person.  or maybe i am.  oh well, go away, would ya?"
- ryan sproull, city kid.

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there are three levels of humility.  i don't like putting things into levels.  or more to the point, i love putting things into levels... but only when it's two levels.  true, false.  right, wrong.  my obsession with duality drives me into ever more intense dimentia.

there are three levels of humility.

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first, there is believing that you are essentially a good person.  you might make some mistakes here and there, but your intentions are good, you never mean to hurt  anyone.you're a nice person.  you lend people money, you don't get angry much, you do things that God would be proud of.

you know that sometimes you make a mistake and do something wrong... but you feel really bad about it, and try not to do it again.  the point here is, you sincerely believe that _deep down_, you're a good person and pleasing to God.

if this is you, my advice is consider your intentions behind everything.  look deep within yourself for your motives behind every action you take.  you're talking to this person, why?  you're doing this or that, why?  even things that are so obviously "good" actions, question yourself as you would question the intentions of a hardened criminal.

. secondly, there is believing that you are essentially a bad person.  i think it was Madame Guyon who said, "he that regards self only with horror, is beginning to be the delight of God," and "the more we learn what humility is, the less we discover of it in ourselves."

this is where you see that everything you do is selfish.  everything's  self-centred.even when you're doing "good" things, you see that you're doing them to serve your own desires.  you see your selfish desires infecting every decision you make, you find yourself making excuses for things all the time.  you see how imperfect you are in the light of God's truth... perhaps comparing your actions and thoughts to those of Christ.

there's a bit of an annoying paradox here.  you know that you consider yourself nothing.  you understand what "man's most righteous actions are like filthy rags before God" means.  do you consider yourself humble?  sure, but by considering yourself humble, are you allowing a bit of false pride to get in there?  who knows.

this is a pretty good view of things... to believe that you suck.  non-christians reading this may think, "fuck that... that's so negative and stuff."  well, yes, it is, but that's the reality that christianity teaches... people suck.  and an excellent side-effect of this humility is that when you see that you suck, you have trouble looking down on other people for their suckiness.

it's like, you're so aware of your own sins that you don't hassle people for theirs.  you still understand that what people do is sin, but you no longer see them as inferior to yourself for sinning.  you see yourself on that level.  you know that you're a sinner, just like they are.

it might appear like this is perfect humility, but actually, it's not.  as with many things in christianity (as i'm beginning to learn), there's kind of a third level, that's not so much a progression of the first two, but a twist on it.  going sideways.

my advice to people at this point is this:  you realise you're sinful, that's  good.now study the life of Christ, see how He acts, listen to what He teaches, try to conform your will to the will of God as Christ did.

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true, perfect humility is not even considering your level of humility.  it's focussing only on God and His will.  it's not considering yourself good.  it's not considering yourself evil.  it's not considering yourself at all, because you're far too busy considering God.

paradox again.  even by considering this, i know that i'm not at this point.  as CS Lewis said, "i can see these humble far in the distance."  even thinking about my own worth, thinking about whether or not i'm good, thinking about whether or not i'm humble... it means i'm thinking about myself.  and that's not what perfect humility is.

it's thinking only of God... having God fill your thoughts so much that there's no room for yourself.  i'd tell you more about this if i could, but as i said, i'm relaying even this small amount of information to you like a person watching a distant football game through a telescope.

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that's my piece on humility.  i think someone asked me to write it.  i'm not sure.  if my rant about the "third level" confused you, don't worry, it confused me too.

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mail wataki

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