This is a blog post from Oct. 2, 2009. I found it scanning memories on my Facebook page. Apparently, at one point, I could write and think and communicate things. My brain if foggier now. This is worth a re-post, though. I hope it is helpful to you in some way.
And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: “God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.” -1 Peter 5:5b
This was the beginning of the reading for Evening Prayer on Wednesday. These direct instruction passages make you think. This one is very important I believe. Tucked back in the back of 1st Peter – a very central thought. Relationships with others. How to “be” as a human being as you deal, as you will constantly, with other human beings.
It can be taken, I suppose, as merely a command to obey, and if you don’t obey it, you’ll get the hard side of God on the back of your neck. That would be an unfortunate way to look at this statement (or any for that matter). One would expand such a statement and ask questions:
Do you want to be close to God or far away? Would you rather be who God created you to be or some twisted other thing? Do you understand this whole thing? Do you get that it’s about the utter and complete transformation of your being and not just about you doing the right thing or being right or being good? One could ask those questions of the hearer – of us all.
If you’re always thinking, “I am humble in this situation, he’s the prideful one,” and you just know that God is favoring you or your side and “opposing” the other – if that’s you, you probably don’t know what humility is. If you’re looking for His favor as some kind of reward for your having been humble, and His active opposition to the other as some kind of punishment for their having been proud, you should see yourself as at the bottom of a very high mountain.
If we have figured out “how to be humble” in order to be on God’s good side –
“See! See me Lord! I am a humble man! Give me your favor – you said!”
You see yourself being what you believe is good and you try to shine the spotlight of yourself to heaven, so God will see you too. HE sees. He sees much deeper than our supposedly good actions. He knows the deep intentions of our hearts. We think we know them. If He exposed them to us as they really are, I think we would be destroyed by what we saw and heard.
“Change me, O God. Make me into the Image of Your Son!”
Let this be our prayer. Better, often, if we shut our mouths and lie down – throw dirt on our heads. Better we apologize when we feel we have no need to. Jesus had no need to die on a cross either – not for Himself. Better we forget what others have done to us and remember only what we have done, and lift that up to the Father in His great Mercy. Better we stop trying to find ways of showing how good we are, to others, to ourselves, or to God. Better we simply do as the Scripture passage continues…
So humble yourselves under the might hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. -1 Peter 5
And I imagine it would be best if we didn’t get too excited about what the “exalt you” business means or we’ll be right back where we started from.
God help us. Lord have mercy on us. Fill us with Your Grace, Father.