March 30, 2022
Return to the Cross: Humility
Now I’m not one who typically does this type of thing, but let’s talk current events. As my daughter Maggie says, “Daddy, let’s spill the tea!” Who amongst you watched the Oscars on Sunday night? Even if you didn’t, who here saw what happened at the Oscars? This will be something remembered for years to come, and not for the fashion or the awards. Upon hearing a distasteful joke aimed at his wife, Will Smith promptly walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock in the face on live television. Everyone was stunned… most of all Rock! Later upon winning the Oscar for Best Actor, Smith apologized to the audience. He also later released a statement apologizing to Chris Rock.
I debriefed the whole incident with a friend. Both of us are husbands who deeply love our wives and will always defend their honor. We asked each other, “What would you have done?” I think we both agreed that we would like to believe that we have the necessary self-control to deal with situations in a more discreet manner. Perhaps afterwards in a private conversation when literally the whole world isn’t watching! However, we also had to be honest as well. If someone verbally insulted our wives in front of a room full of people, we too might have done the exact same thing as Will Smith.
What’s the bigger issue here? The current cultural debate should be greater than would you, or wouldn’t you? The issue at hand is what’s in the human heart that causes scenes like this to happen day after day whether in Hollywood or here in Carrollton. Might I suggest it’s the original sin of pride. The following scripture speaks about pride in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride prefaces every poor decision that causes injury or harm. Whether that be a cruel joke or retaliation through means of physical violence. A paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 8:1 says in effect “Pride puffs up.” We develop false notions of superiority towards others which causes us to say condescending remarks that wound. Likewise, our paper-thin egos can’t handle insults that make us or others we love look bad. Pride is a vicious cycle, and we’re doomed to live lives of injury and retaliation unless there is another way.
The cross says, humility is another way. C.S. Lewis wrote that “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” What does this mean? Contrary to popular notion, humility isn’t fostered by telling yourself you’re a bad person. Healthy humility comes from when our hearts receive their fulfillment by perceiving and fulfilling the needs of others in Jesus’s name. “It’s not about you!”, Pastor Rick Warren wrote in the opening line of The Purpose Driven Life. I agree with Warren but I’ll also add the following. Life is about getting lost in the adventure of following Jesus Christ and fulfilling the ministry which he has uniquely called us to. The beauty of this process is awe inspiring…its implications overwhelming! All made possible by a savior who died on a cross for us and now promises to lead, guide, and direct us in our every present moment. I don’t know about you but that stirs humility within my heart. Not because I’m a terrible person but because God is so good. How about you?
Let’s prepare our hearts for this Sunday as we continue our conversation about humility. Isn’t God’s plan for our lives better than pride resulting in self-destruction? Please read the following scriptures and pray deeply for healthy humility in Jesus’s name: Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4-14, John 12:1-8. I’ll see you Sunday as we return to the cross!