Tuesday Reflection

10th November 2020

' put others first'

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition
  or vain conceit.
  Rather, in humility
  value others above yourselves

..... Philippians 2:3 NIV

Do you know someone
in your life who is truly humble,
whose gentleness and ability
to put others first just
shines from them?

It is rarely found
but a great virtue,
such people are a joy
to be around and uplift us.

Recently I came across
an excerpt on humility from
'The Screwtape Letters'
by C.S. Lewis, in which Satan
is instructing his young follower.
It starts:

'Your patient has become humble;
have you drawn his attention
to this fact?
All virtues are less formidable to us
once the man is aware he has them,
but this is particularly
true of humility.
Catch him at the moment
when he is really poor in spirit
and smuggle into his mind
the gratifying reflection,
'By jove! I am being humble',
and almost immediately pride -
pride in his own humility -
will appear.

If he awakes to the danger
and tries to smother this
new form of pride,
make him proud of the attempt -
and so on through
as many stages as you please.'

This got me thinking;
most of us, if not all,
fall into this trap from time to time.
I recalled talking with
a dear friend who said,

'As I was praying last night
I reflected over the past day,
and thought,
'I cannot think of anything
I've done wrong to say sorry for -
hey! Haven't I been good.'
Then I thought
'OOOPs, sorry Lord,
please forgive me for my pride!''

I dread to think how many times
I've caught myself doing exactly
the same thing
and had to ask for forgiveness!

Jesus had some harsh things
to say about those who were
filled with pride
and self-importance.
He told this parable;

9 To some who were confident
   of their own righteousness
   and looked down on everyone else,
   Jesus told this parable:
10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray,
    one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood by himself
   and prayed:
   'God, I thank you that I am not like
   other people-robbers,
   evildoers, adulterers - or
   even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week
   and give a tenth of all I get.'
13 "But the tax collector stood
    at a distance.
    He would not even look up
    to heaven,
    but beat his breast and said,
   'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
14 "I tell you that this man,
    rather than the other,
    went home justified before God.
    For all those who exalt
    themselves will be humbled,
    and those who humble themselves
    will be exalted."

..... Luke 18:9-14.

Solomon wrote;

23 Pride brings a person low,
   but the lowly in spirit gain honour.

..... Proverbs 29:23 NIV

But humility can be taken too far,
and ceases to be humility.
This following poem by
James Thompson sums it up beautifully.

Once in a stately passion
I cried with desperate grief,
'Oh Lord, my heart is black with guile,
of sinners I am chief'
Then stooped my guardian angel
and whispered from behind
'Vanity, my little man,
you're nothing of the kind'.