February 2 Reflections

As we continue to think about healthy relationships a key piece is humility toward God and toward others. The best way I can think of humility toward God is to simply say from a deep-seated belief: I am not God. Truly, I will let God be God. I will be a being created in his image, loved by him, yet I am not God. I receive my identity from him (remember healthy relationships = identity + self-definition + Staying connected + Surrender to God) and I surrender to him. Admittedly there have been times in my past that I thought I was God. I knew right from wrong perfectly. I knew exactly what you were supposed to do. I believed that I had climbed Mount Sinai and not only got the 10 Commandments, but also the 5,345 rules that govern every situation that you come across. Always your things, not mine. I was very good at telling you what to do. Enough of God’s gracious reminders through the years, like, “Verlyn you have no idea what you are talking about, you are not speaking for me. You do not even know what makes my heartbeat. You are talking out of some personal shame or cultural agenda that has nothing to do with me.” Ouch. Point taken and received. I am not God. I am not going to try to run your life. I can’t fix you. I can’t change you. I don’t control you. I can only love you. For me, that is humility.

But I think there is another piece of humility that allows us to keep our hand extended out in connection even if someone might not agree with me. I think a good definition of humility is “the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.” (“Humilitas”…Dickson) A humble person is willing to hold power in service of others. The one being humble acts from a height, for instance I believe for me, I am a child of Abba, loved by Abba, delighted in by Abba. My firm identity allows be to be humble. It is settled. It is who I am. I do not have to earn it. I don’t have to prove it. I rest in it. From there I can move and act and give myself away for the good of others, not to prove I am superior, but to live in the reality that each human being is equal to me therefore I will treat them with respect, even when they disagree with  me. The hand out in connection. You too are created in the image of God. I respect you. Here is my hand.

You might think that this going to lead to relativism and the secular idea of tolerance that purports that all beliefs are to be accepted and no one belief is any better than others. I don’t think humility says that. Humility does not turn me and you into doormats. I think humble convictions is a better way. It does not mean believing less: it means treating those who hold contrary beliefs with respect and friendship. Hold your belief firmly (fist up by ear) but do so with a soft heart toward those who hold contrary opinions. We are going to think about this on Sunday as we look at the life of Peter who often tried to play God and thought he knew what was best. The result: damaged relationships.  Some passages to read: John 18:1-11; John13:1-17; Matthew 16:21-23; Luke 22:24-34; 1 Peter 5:5-7.

Grace upon Grace

Pastor Verlyn