…when I’m perfect in every way.

I like to show off. I like to take the risk of failing to complete the tricky play, to make the instantaneous grab of hot shot screaming between 2nd and 3rd, to carry a difficult split when the money’s on the table. I like to sing lead and be the guy in the middle of the stage. I like to wear the nice threads while walking with my beautiful wife. And you know why? Because it’s damn funny.

Yeah. Funny. It cracks me up to pretend that I am that pro-athlete doing what so many pro-athletes do routinely as if so many others aren’t equally capable, if not more so. It’s funny to think that I have just made someone look stupid by doing what he obviously thought I was not able to do, and what even I wasn’t sure I could do. Loads of fun. Showing off is a gas.

Does this imply incredible pride and conceit to you? Does this smack of some vile lack of humility? Who cares? All those grand stages of pick-up sports and bar bands are so incredibly insignificant diversions. Part of the fun is the IN YOUR FACE/DIG ME aspect of doing it.

But guess what. I have fun when I fail to impress. Just participating is what it’s all about for me. I’ve sung where it seemed absolutely no one in the crowd gave a flyin’ rat’s ass that there was a live band even present. But I still got to sing. I’ve played a variety of sports where I’ve not made the big play, not logged that turkey in the final frame to win the game, and even taken shots from a fighter who was clearly superior and making ME look stupid. I’ve enjoyed every minute. It’s just a gas.

That’s been the bottom line. Just having a good time regardless of the outcome and being prepared to be shown up.

I was on a bowling team one year that was amongst my most enjoyable years bowling. Everyone on the team was capable of doing damage and we competed more against each other than we did as a team against others. We didn’t even think of the other team as our money was wagered against each other and it was the most fun taking each others’ money over taking the money in the league pots (though that was indeed a serious goal). And when you took the other dude’s money, you mocked him mercilessly. We had a blast and if we didn’t win it all that year (I don’t think we did), we were definitely in contention.

Humble wasn’t a factor. Didn’t need to be. Our averages were posted and it was clear who the best was.

Humble. Humility.

The subject of humility comes up a lot around here and was the subject of a blog post not too long ago. It is apparently considered by some to be lacking in humility to be confident in what one knows about Scripture. The line is that we are fallible and capable of being wrong on anything. While this is true, we being imperfect beings and all, it simply does not mean that we can’t be totally right on specific things, especially if those things are directly revealed.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Pretty clear that. Can I not be confident and convicted in the knowledge that adultery is always sinful and not to be practiced? Is there any way in which I might be understanding this commandment improperly? I can’t think of any, can you? So, knowing what the term “adultery” means, and knowing that it is clearly prohibited, am I acting in a manner lacking in humility to insist the behavior is sinful? Am I speaking for God?

Well, as a bit of a sidebar, any expression of what Scripture teaches us to another is to be speaking for God. So what? It is suggested by some (or one in particular) that to insist that one is confident in what Scripture teaches is to somehow speak as if one IS God, or equal to Him to the extent that one’s “understanding” is equal to His Will. Again. So what? Are we not supposed to reflect His Teachings and His Will in the manner in which we live our lives?

The pitch is that what one person believes to be the Will of God might be different than the understanding of another person. Still once more, so what? This only means that one of the two is wrong or at least that one of the two is further from the truth than the other. But if both believe and are convicted in his belief, is it prideful to state the case as such? Does one lack humility in preaching what one believes to be the truth?

No. Not that I don’t think so, but that my answer is “NO” in no uncertain terms. Stating that 2+2=4 and refusing to accept any alternative possibility is NOT a sign that one lacks humility. To state at the same time that the other guy who believes it isn’t always the case is more than just wrong is also not a sign that one lacks humility. What it does show is two possibilities:

1. The one stating the fact cares enough about the wrong person to encourage a change of opinion.

2. The one stating the fact cares enough about anyone in the sphere of the wrong person’s influence to continue to speak out against the fallacy the wrong person insists on preaching.

(There’s also a third, that the one stating the fact thinks the other guy is a complete idiot or liar or both.)

Neither (and even the third) indicate a lack of humility on the part of the person defending the fact. Not in the least.

Indeed, to submit to God’s authority and His mandates as clearly revealed in Scripture is a sign of humility of the type Jesus modeled for us. He was totally subservient to His Will. He was not acting pridefully when He cast out the money changers. He was not acting pridefully when he accused the Pharisees of being hypocrites and vipers. He was not being false or prideful when He taught that we be humble, like He is. In that sense, defending God’s Will is not lacking in humility at all, but being humble in the manner that Jesus modeled in that we are exposing ourselves to heat from those who disagree with us for His sake. Our “suffering” at taking that heat is to put God before our own comfort.

“Agree to disagree” is not humility. It is milquetoast. I do not dismiss the possibility that I might have some notions of Biblical understanding wrong. Of course I can be wrong. But only when I am so proven to be. To “agree to disagree” gives tacit permission for the other person to carry on as if that person was not wrong. Why would any sane person agree to that? “Oh yeah. Let’s agree to disagree. You go ahead and believe setting yourself on fire won’t hurt.” Am I serving that person to agree to allow such a destructive belief to go unchallenged? Is that humility, or cowardice?

Another person in the same discussion brought up this weird crap about learning new things that open him up to a better understanding of God. This after a post that mentions 1 Cor 13:12, as if a perfect understanding of God Himself is the point. I am already quite humble before the Lord. I could not be more unworthy of His Love. How much more need I know to make this more true? How much would it make a difference to know exactly how unworthy I am? He is Everything. I am nothing. There’s not a whole lot more one needs to know.

Yet though His exact nature is unknowable to a living person, though His exact ways and thoughts are beyond us, He did not leave us with no clear understanding of how we are to live on this earth. He did not leave us without any “clues” as to what constitutes righteous behavior and what is sinful. What we need to know is crystal.

In that discussion, to get to a more clear explanation of a convoluted point being made, I offered this: “I saw a chair today and realized how little I understand God.” It was an attempt to get this dude to explain his earlier comments that were no clearer than this. He went on to talk about how just seeing the chair from one angle doesn’t tell us all we can know about the chair. Seeing it from the other side tells us something different, but then we cannot see the first view anymore, and, we cannot tell how comfortable it might be or if it can support our weight. He is humbled by such lack of knowledge apparently. I would simply sit in the damned chair. Even without doing so, I still know that it is indeed a chair and it is made for sitting.

In any case, that part of the discussion did not provide anything useful except to allow him to wax poetic (he hates when I say this) about that which did not enlighten in the least. I sought the connection between his “examples” and how they humble him more than merely acknowledging the vast chasm between who we are and who He is. But it has something very much in common with the poster and his thoughts on “humility”. Both serve to dismiss what is clearly revealed for whatever reasons they wish to preserve and before which they insist on humbling themselves.

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