humility

A lesson in humility

I recently attended an interfaith dialogue meeting and it was my first time joining this particular group.  During the discussion, a gentleman who had an unwelcoming experience at a Christian church in his youth had found another faith, but it seemed the experience left him a bit embittered.  He pointed out a story in the Bible about Jesus, that in this man’s telling of it, made Jesus seem like not a very nice guy.  However, the man only told part of the story and seemed to leave out the most important part about healing that comes at the end.  This is the story depicted in the book of Matthew, Chapter 15. Jesus was approached by a Canaanite woman requesting that he heal her daughter who was mentally ill.  At first Jesus didn’t respond and the disciples asked him to send her away.  After the woman pleads with him, he does respond to say “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”  This is where this man in the meeting I was attending ended the story to demonstrate his point that Jesus was not the compassionate, merciful savior that Christians believe him to be.  

However, I was grateful that another attendee pointed out, that this is not where the story ends. Jesus does ultimately heal the daughter. And yet another attendee stated, that the woman corrected Jesus and he took the correction and then healed her. This gave me a lot to ponder.   

First of all, I found myself taking offence at this gentleman’s telling of the story.  But then when I thought about it more later, I recognized, that actually this story had always bothered me too.  I knew Jesus healed the woman’s daughter, but I was always bothered that he spoke to her the way he had, because it seemed very … well, un-Jesus-like or un-Christ-like.  However, I really appreciated hearing the perspective that Jesus took the correction and changed his approach.  It got me thinking.  What humility that must have taken to stand corrected, and not only that but in that very same moment to turn around and express that much mercy, compassion and love as to heal.  I know humility can actually be one of the greatest qualities of a true leader and I know Jesus to be a humble servant of God, but this was a new form of humility I had not recognized in him before.  

I started to think, am I that humble?  When someone corrects me, do I take the correction?  And even more, do I take it and then turn around and change my behavior and respond with mercy, compassion and love in that very moment?  Or do I stew on it for a while – hours, weeks, months – starting with self-justification for why I said or did what I said or did, and then moving on to perhaps realizing I was wrong and then feeling embarrassed, ashamed or guilty, or do I then worry about what the other person must think of me and rehearse the situation and think of all the ways I could have responded better and start berating myself for being so foolish or mean or whatever it seemed I was in that moment.  

So thinking about how I might normally deal with being corrected, I began to be in awe of Jesus’ capacity for humility, grace and compassion.  I also love that not only did he take the correction, but was then able to bring healing to the entire situation in that very moment.  I am so grateful for this lesson in humility.  

I learned a few other lessons with this situation in this meeting… about making sure we get the whole story before we pass judgment, about loving our neighbor as ourself, and about forgiveness… check out future blogs for those lessons.   

abundance, blessings, Love

Awe and Humility

This morning the following Bible passage was in my email, and when I read it I was awe struck…

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.[

I Chronicles 29:11

After reading this I felt just in awe of God’s greatness and power and felt so utterly humbled before God. All sense of ego on my part just dissolved, and I as I began my morning prayers I felt like I was truly on my knees, mentally.  I pondered what does it mean to be a humble servant of the Lord?  Does that mean that we have or are nothing?  I then remembered part of the Golden Text, or theme, of this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson on the subject of Substance, from the book of Luke: 

. . . it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. . . .

Luke 12:32 it

I was recently asked “what does it mean to have the kingdom?  Now that we’ve been given the kingdom, now what?”.  Well, we get to have the confidence that God is providing all that we need, and there is never any lack or limitation when we put God first.  We live out from that kingdom and have dominion over temptations to doubt or fear. In fact, the first part of that passage states: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

If we have the kingdom, we have all the richness and good that it comes with, and we can proceed in life knowing that Love, another word for God (according to 1 John), is providing for every need – including health and wholeness, belonging and community, steady supply.  So we don’t need to fear, and we can live completely unselfishly knowing that there is an endless supply of good, not only for ourselves but for each and every one of us.  There is no “us and them” in the kingdom.  We are all given equally and abundantly.  

 If we have the kingdom, we have all the richness and good that it comes with, and we can proceed in life knowing that Love, another word for God (according to 1 John), is providing for every need – including health and wholeness, belonging and community, steady supply.  So we can live completely unselfishly knowing that there is an endless supply of good, not only for ourselves but for each and every one of us.  There is no “us and them” in the kingdom.  We are all given equally and abundantly.  

As the next verse of the first text I shared states:

Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.[

I Chronicles 29:12

So we can have it all, when we humbly acknowledge our true source of all good.  But you may say, wait a minute, that’s not what the world looks like… there are some that seem to have it all and some that seem to have nothing or very little.  Well, when we align our thought with Love’s divine provision, we will find that it is there for us, even in the toughest circumstances.  I find that in those moments when I give gratitude for what I do have, and lean into Divine Love, and trust, humbly acknowledge Love, God as the true source of all good, all harmony, all strength and provision, and get self out of the way, that the way opens up to answering each and every need. 

And then I get to sing – How Great Thou Art…  a song that always makes me feel a sense of God’s greatness and a deep sense of humility and awe.  I love this version especially because of the beautiful, awe inspiring setting where they are singing.