We’ve all been humiliated at one red-faced moment or another – I’m just guessing. I’ve had more than my share of moments, sometimes brought on by me and sometimes brought on by another. But does it even matter?
Living in a glass house lets humiliation shine through.
Humiliation in any form can be painful – certainly when it’s a situation that’s more than just having to hide behind the blush after tripping up the steps on the way onto the stage to talk about balance. Don’t laugh – it’s been done.
But this form – this kind – not just an embarrassing moment, but when life stops for a dramatic instant and our insides want to spill outside right where we’re standing, and the only thing that seems to stay within is the shame and demolition.
We feel utterly naked before others when only the scars show – it seems all we see is our disfigured selves rather than becoming beautifully carved by the Master’s defining tools of injustice, accusation, and rejection.
Thankfully, God wrote embarrassment into His divine script of redemptive history. You may have experienced, if we don’t humble ourselves, He’ll do it for us. It’s a matter of grace. And you may have noticed, there’s no debate that humility and grace aren’t the vogue virtues of the day.
There’s a great lesson we can learn from an ancient king. His long-ago story stays current in my mind because his name is just . . . unforgettable, for one. Nebuchednezzar had vanity wrestle him down to the low place of humility while walking on his royal roof top declaring his own majesty – he soon found himself in a field of grass eating with the cattle. (Daniel 4:1-37)
Humility cuts into the ego when we look into the mirror and see the honest-me.
God taught this king humility by taking him through humiliation and there’s the difference between being humbled and being humiliated – kindness.
Doesn’t it help to know God uses the things that touch our lives meant to diminish and destroy to actually be a step of exaltation? And so He shows us Jesus . . from mockery, spit and shame to the exaltation of resurrection.
The best definition I’ve found for humility: Humility is quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble, never to be fretted or vexed, to expect nothing or wonder at nothing that is done to me. It is to be at rest when no one praises me or when I am despised or blamed. And it is to have a blessed home in the Lord where I can go and shut the door and kneel before the Father in secret and peace because it’s the fruit of the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work at Calvary manifested in those of His own who are subject to His Spirit.
And I hope for you also, kind friend . . .
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and he will exalt you. James 4:10