Saturday, October 11, 2008

Radical Humility

Brenton Brown has a song called "Humble King." In it he says, "You are the God of the wounded / The friend of the weak / You wash the feet of the weary / Embrace the ones in need / Oh I want to be like You, Jesus / To have this heart in me / You are the God of the humble / You are the humble King."

In an earlier post, I was talking about the radical humility that occurs when we tell the Lord we will accept correction, not only from the Lord Himself, but even from His people, the righteous. This is all the more remakable for the knowledge that these people will be hypocrites, failures, people coming up short personally in the very same areas in which they are giving advice. In essence, people just like us.

This takes some kind of nerve, some kind of desperation, or, most likely, a little of both. Desperation, because we must be desperate to not isolate ourselves, not cocoon, not withdraw to lick our wounds in private. That's the first instinct for so many of us when trouble comes or when we've failed. We're embarrassed. We retreat.

Nerve, because not only are we not retreating, but going public - not just going public, but submitting to the kind (or not so kind) words of the very ones from whom we wanted to hide. It takes some kind of nerve, and some kind of desperation, to stay a course like that.

Paul instructs us to admonish one another in both Romans 15:14 (TM) and Colossians 3:16 (TM), and that requires this kind of humility. I like the fact that love covers a host of sins (TM), because that's what is needed for this to work. We have to be a community of humility in order to receive this kind of input from each other.

Required In Both Directions

Radical humility is required for the one giving the correction as well. Jesus warns us against hypocrisy when He tells us to remove the log (TM) from our own eye in order to deal with the speck in our brother's eye. I think it's noteworthy that He doesn't say just stick to your own eye and leave your brother's eye out of it. That's what generally happens when we manage not to meddle. We say, "it's none of my business." Jesus, however, calls us into community and instructs us on humility.

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