On Humility

There are two ways to be humbled in this life. We can be exalted for who we really are not—that’s grace (cf. Prov 25.6-7; Lk 14.7-11). Or, we can be exposed for who we really are—that’s justice (cf. 2 Sam 12.7; Prov 3.34; 1 Pt 5.5; Jam 4.6). In the end, God will have humility one way or another. But Jesus says it is far better to be humbled by grace than by justice. Having recently experienced both the Potter’s wheel and the Mason’s chisel, I must wholeheartedly agree.

God will see to it that whatever praise we receive and embarrassment we feel lead to Jesus. Whether we admit it or not, our life respires on grace and mercy. Grace for the undeserving; mercy for the deserving. Paul rejoiced that justice leads to mercy and mercy to the praise of our perfectly patient Lord (1 Tim 1.15-16). In the end we trust that whatever folks might remember about us is whatever honored Jesus. All else is shame and regret (which are both swallowed up by a very hungry mercy that they offended!).

I suppose grace and justice are not enemies in the Christian. They are two lanes on the highway to humility. Some of us change lanes more often than others, but God be praised they lead to the same destination. Jesus will welcome his brothers (even the rascally ones) and pride will not be one of them.

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