Humility

Listening More and Talking Less

Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing personal opinion.


Proverbs talks a lot about, well, talking! I think that we often confirm who we are (whether we want to be that person or not) when we talk. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." And yet, we still talk. We talk in person. We talk (and text) on cell phones. We talk on the Internet. We talk, talk, talk. And a great deal of the time, we are "expressing personal opinion."

Do You Want to Be Righteous or Right?Premium Content

Do we want to be righteous... or do we want to be right? It seems, these days, that many people have difficulties taking constructive criticism. The fact is, our egos are so sensitive (so self-centered) that we want everyone to approve of us all the time, rather than accepting the kind of sacrificial love that comes from a friend who wants us to be right with God. And, oh my goodness, what turmoil wells up inside us when we are rebuked! We take it as a personal offense, rather than quietly wondering if perhaps it's really true and we should do something about it.

    A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.Proverbs 17:10 NRSV

Friends don't let friends sin. That's the simple fact about Christianity. If we are true to our faith, we understand that everything here is temporal and our focus should be on the eternal. And the eternal is concerned with pleasing God.

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Biblical References for the 12 Steps (Short Version)Premium Content

Note: all quotes are from the King James Version (KJV). If you have difficulty understanding the KJV we strongly recommend that you get a copy of a more modern language Bible such as The New Life Version Bible, New King James Version, New Revised Standard Version, Today's English Version, The Message, etc.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and dysfunctions and that our lives had become unmanageable.

--For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:
for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is
good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil
which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not,
it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. --Romans 7:18-20

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Restoration Though Making Amends (Part 1)Premium Content

If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:23, 24)

A rescue mission counselor asked me to talk with a man who had returned to their recovery program for the third time. Despite completing their program twice, he was unable to remain sober for more than a few months. Not too far into our discussion, I recognized he had not been able to develop the healthy sort of relationships essential for continued growth in recovery. Fearful of becoming too involved with others, he could not experience the joy of meaningful, fulfilling relationships. I asked him, "Have you ever done the 8 & 9 Steps?” His answer of "No” made perfect sense. Like many newly recovering people, he still carried a load of guilt and remorse from unresolved past relationships. Thus, he could not move forward with confidence to make new intimate relationships. He needed to clean up the residue of his past first.

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Be ImitatorsPremium Content

1 Corinthians 11:1 RSV
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Could you say this to another, younger Christian? Could you have a Christian live with you, observe you, watch you, and then trust, if they imitated you, that they would be imitating Christ?

I think that, initially, all of us want to say “yes,” but if we think about this much, if we really meditate on this, wouldn’t we more likely back off? Do we really live our lives in such a way that others can imitate us and know that, in doing so, they would be pursuing the narrow path?

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Do You Practice Humility?

Humility is not something regularly taught these days. Preachers focus on salvation, on relationships, and some focus on integrity (though not many). But it’s been a long time since I heard someone teach on humility. Peter has an interesting take on humility. He states that it is the foundation of all relationships: "You must cloth yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another." For me, there are three aspects to humility when I deal with those around me.

1 Peter 5:5-9 NRSV

Attributes of Thankfulness

Colossians 3:12-17 NRSV
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

November, traditionally in America, is the month where we turn our thoughts toward being thankful. One of the things I’ve been enjoying on Facebook are the many who are daily listing the things for which they are thankful. In a cynical world, thankfulness silences the critics and raises one’s spirit.

Humility in Recovery

In recovery, we need to stay focused on the path ahead. There are many obstacles that can effortlessly obstruct our growth process. One deadly sin that we should always steer clear of is pride. Anyone in recovery is extremely susceptible to external hindrances because we were once slaves to them during our addiction. Outside hindrances can include numerous things, such as shame, resentment, fear, self-centeredness, and pride, among other things. If we are to evade these hazardous obstacles, we should harbor and uphold a humble spirit. Once we are finally clean and sober, have gone to meetings, and have worked the program, we learn that God alone can cure us of our past sins. We must surrender our will and our lives over to the care of God. And this, my friends, requires an act of humility.

Step 4 - Defensive Self-righteousness Premium Content

As you take inventory you will be tempted to become defensive. Our life patterns are part of us. When we start to look at them honestly for the first time in our lives, our immediate reaction is to dig in our heels and try to justify our past behavior.

In the fourth step you have to be relentlessly honest. You have to look at yourself objectively and refuse to defend anything that is wrong in your life (past or present). The first step out of your dark pit and into the light and victory starts with complete honesty.

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Honesty, Lies and Self-Delusion

This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true. 1 John 1:5-6 NRSV

Honesty and lies. These aren't topics much talked about these days. In fact, it may be that the American culture is on its way to being completely delusional, believing that lies are the truth simply because it's what we believe.

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