I am not a humble person [Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, 8:40 pm]
Just lightening things up a little here, because I'm too lazy to make a whole new banner right now.
I'm reading a book now that I seriously think every Christian should read. It's one of those that I'd placed on my ever-expanding "reading list" just expecting that I'd read it someday, but a friend and I decided to do a mini "book club" this summer, and this one came to mind.
"The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis.
I could probably do an entire entry on every single chapter in the book, and I may talk about it more later, but in the meantime there are some quotes from one in particular that I want to discuss.
For those unfamiliar with the premise of the book, it's written from the perspective of a demon, or "devil" writing letters to his nephew, a devil-in-training. It's basically trying to give people a look at how the enemy works to tempt and deceive Christians. Yeah, it's not scripture, but it's very soundly based on it.
One chapter that's really stuck with me is the one about humility. I may have discussed something along these lines several months ago when I talked about self-esteem, and how the problem isn't that we dwell on bad thoughts about ourselves, but that we dwell on ourselves at all.
I want to share some quotes from this chapter. Keep in mind this is from the perspective of a devil, therefore "the enemy" is God, and "the patient" is an ordinary Christian man.
"Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact? All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility."
How true this is. Elsewhere in the book, it discusses how profitable it is to the devils to NOT let a person become aware that they're entering into states such as anger or lust - those things do more damage when they go unrecognized. But if a person enters into a virtuous state, the goal is to make the person as aware of it as possible, in order to deaden its effect, and lessen the person's impact.
The next step:
This was a big deal for me to read, because I too often fall into those destructive thought patterns of down-playing myself, thinking that I'm not good enough for people or things, thinking that if I accept a compliment or a big responsibility then I'm being prideful. 22 years of my life and I didn't get it! Humility's goal is not to make us useless - quite the opposite!
Thought patterns are hard to change. In many ways it's just like an addiction. Obviously that still doesn't make it okay to think prideful thoughts about myself. I guess the way to look at it is that humility should always be the goal, but not one that I'll ever know if I've attained... which is okay because I won't in this lifetime. Here's my last quote for this entry, detailing more of what I want my goal to be:
"The enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favor that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents - or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognize all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible..."
Animal self-love... wow, that's harsh. But that's what it is. That's what I have, and that's what I want to combat in my thought life and actions.
I'm okay - Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010