Thursday, March 6, 2014

What is humility?

I've heard a lot of sermons and talks and YouTube videos and whatever else about humility. Here's what I often hear (and you probably have to): Humility is putting yourself below others. It's putting yourself lower.
Hold on to that thought.

I've also heard a lot of stuff about pride. The general definition I've heard is: Pride is focusing on yourself. Basically, making you the center of your life.

Now, back to what I said earlier. Who is the main subject in "putting yourself below others"? Others, like it should be? Nope. It's you. That statement is about you. So really, you are focusing on yourself. Which is pride. One term for putting yourself below others (I think) is self-deprecation, or at least thats how i use it. And what I've found is that self-deprecation is no more than a twisted form of pride. Humility is putting others above yourself, not yourself below others. Talking yourself down is not the same thing as lifting others up. There is huge difference here, because the humility Jesus calls us to have is focusing on others; putting others above yourself. Putting yourself below others is trying to put a mask on pride; it's still there, but it's hidden where its much harder to see, and therefore it grows in a much more dangerous way. It festers behind a mask of "humility". 

(This was on my iPod, so it's shorter than it might otherwise be and there are probably some grammar/wording issues).


  1. This is deep good stuff. :)
    I do have a question though: how is self-deprecation a twisted form of pride?

  2. Oh, sorry, I didn't see your comment. That probably sounds really weird to say what I said about self-deprecation, but it revolves around how I generalized the definition of pride to be "focusing on yourself". By Self-deprecation, I mean when it's used in a way like this, saying "Oh, no, I'm actually bad at ____" when really, you're good at the thing, but you're trying to make it sound like you're not (and often it's used to fish for a compliment). So when it's used like that, the focus is on yourself, which is pride according to the definition I used. A humbler, and more honest, way to respond to a compliment would be to say, "Thank you, I appreciate it" and then find a way to compliment/lift the other person up.

    Self-deprecation is not pride in the way a lot of people view pride, which is placing yourself above others. However, I think pride is a lot more dangerous than just that; at it's core, pride does not mean putting yourself above others, it means focusing on yourself, even if it is to put yourself below others.

    So, I hope that clears it up. I'm slightly redefining pride, because I think the way a lot of people define pride doesn't truly capture what pride is.

    So, in an attempt to sum it all up, true humility is focusing on others, and lifting them up, while self-deprecation is focusing on yourself, and putting yourself below others.