Humble pie: Not so tasty, but very healthy
When I’m not writing and coaching, I teach college students. Several of my classes are fully online. This means the students submit all their work online and I grade and provide feedback in the assignment area. As I worked through my students’ submissions this week, one student had no submission. I marked all zeros on the rubric, made a note that he did not submit anything and had not contacted me about missing the work, and moved on to the next student.
The next day when I returned to grading I had a frantic email from this student. He informed me that he didn't know why I gave him a zero. He was sorry that he submitted the work late, but hoped for some credit, at least.
I returned to the assignment. Gulp. There it was…submitted three days ago. How did I miss it?
I had to return to my inbox and humbly ask forgiveness from this student. I explained that I didn’t know why the assignment didn’t load the day before, but I saw it now and would grade it immediately. I felt bad that I caused anxiety for this hard-working student. I am aware that making a mistake like this affects my credibility with my students. I also know that taking responsibility is important.
Bible Teaches how to be Humble
Bleh. 🤢 Humble pie is definitely not tasty. But it’s very important for all of our relationships. Whether we need to admit a wrong to our family, friends, or colleagues, doing so means we are being ethical and setting a good example of Godly behavior. We tend to recognize the characteristics of a humble person when we see them. There are many reasons to be humble. Scripture is rich with admonishments for humility. Here are just a few:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3 NIV
When pride comes, disgrace follows; but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 BSB
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. Romans 12:16 AMP
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 NLT
Humility in Action:
God also gives us plenty of examples of humans exhibiting humility in the Bible. Here are three of my favorites:
Abraham (Genesis 12 & Genesis 20) - God called Abraham and Sarah (then Abram and Sarai - God changes their names later) to leave the land of his father and go to a new place. On the way, Abraham tells Sarah to pretend to be his sister, not his wife. He tells her, “Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you” (Genesis 12:13). Abraham tells this lie TWICE! Both times it backfires on him. You’d think he would have learned the first time, but some of us take longer than others. In both cases, he needs to humbly admit the truth.
Mary (Luke 1) - When I think of humble women, Mary is at the top of my list, though there are many others (Esther, Ruth, and Mary Magdalene, to name a few). When Mary was approached by an angel and told she would miraculously conceive the Messiah, she responded with utmost humility. I would have been incredulous (she was too, for she asked, “How can this happen? I am a virgin” Luke 1:34 NLT) but I would have followed up with pride. “Wow? Me?” I’d think.“I must be pretty important to have THAT role.” But the fact that she responded so humbly is exactly why God chose her and not someone like me. She said to the angel, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 AMP) She just acquiesces with joy to serve the Lord.
Jesus (Luke 23) - Jesus is the ultimate example of humility. He left perfection in heaven to live among us. He received mocking, scorn, and judgment, followed by a horrible death - all to save us from our sinfulness. He humbled himself to take a criminal’s death so that we can have a future with him.
We can clearly see that the Bible wants us to set aside our concerns about being misunderstood or not credible. We are to admit our wrongs, our failings, our mistakes.
The world will be better for it.
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