If we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that much of the drumbeat of animosity and vitriol in our public discourse is due to the raging egos of the people involved. From the office of the President, to the halls of Congress, to the playing fields of sports, to the talking heads of media, our nation is awash with arrogant and condescending people. Politicians decry election results if they lose, because their egos will not allow them to accept defeat. Athletes and actors, who make millions of dollars for playing kids’ games or playing make-believe, think their feelings and opinions are better than anyone else’s. Even professed believers get caught up in this madness.
When we open the pages of scripture, we quickly discover that this is not the way God intends for us to act. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, God’s word clearly teaches that we should be humble. We should be humble before God, and we should be humble with each other. However, we struggle with the concept of humility because we equate it with weakness. We assume that the humble man will get run over in life, and none of us wants to be a doormat.
The scriptures, however, show us that humility has nothing to do with weakness. In fact, the humble man is actually the stronger man. The chief example of this is Moses. No one would accuse Moses of being a weakling. No one would suggest that Moses let people walk all over him. Moses stands as a man of great strength, yet the scriptures say of him, “Now Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Nu. 12:3).
The secret to being humble is trusting God. Moses understood and believed that God would take care of him as he did God’s will. Because Moses trusted God, he didn’t have to promote himself and beat down his opponents in order to show his strength. Because Moses trusted God, he simply did what he was commanded to do. He didn’t have to worry about personal glory. God exalted him for his faithfulness and no other exaltation was necessary.
In the New Testament Paul spoke of humility in Eph. 4:1-3. He said, “Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This is the heart of being what God wants His people to be. In order to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, we must do so with humility and gentleness and patience. This is how we preserve the bond of peace that is created by the Spirit of God when we obey the gospel.
The ongoing drama being played out in the public eye demonstrates the pettiness of human ego. There is no semblance of humility among the participants, no matter what place they occupy on the political spectrum. It is shameful and disgusting. It demeans all the participants, and hurts all of us.
This kind of drama among God’s people is even more distasteful and destructive. When professed believers let their egos run rampant, they are going contrary to everything God’s word teaches us. We would all do well to heed the admonition of James, who said, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:6-7).