I fell last week. I was running when I should have been walking, not looking at the trail in front of me, not respecting the risk of the trail and the random-ness of the act of running.
A few days later, not much hurt - except my pride. Given that my pride is such a big muscle, one that I flex often and depend on, even a minor bruise really hurts. This time, I find that it is hard to get up and walk - every stride pulls at my pride.
Pride (or vanity) is the excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. If pride is the root, then for me at least, arrogance is the trunk. Arrogance is the act of obtaining rights or advantages, including merely rhetorical advantages, through violence or threats of violence, or through verbal violence. Arrogance is as much an aspect of aggression as it is of pretension, which is unwarranted pride. An arrogant person is not merely unjustifiably confident in their own ability and value, but one actively seeking to cow or belittle other "lesser" people in order to achieve their ends.
As much as I wish it were not so, pride and arrogance are typically the potholes that trip me up. As I've limped along the past few days, I've found myself coming back to Philippians 2.3:
Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
In Christianity, humility, or meekness, is seen as a virtue, encompassing three skills:
1. yielding ones rights and possessions to God,
2. earning the right to be heard rather than demanding a hearing, and
3. responding properly to anger when others violate one's personal rights.
Meekness is NOT something I find myself aspiring to - humility is something that I've practiced with great raity.
As I go back to the trail the next few days, I pray this prayer for humility and guidance:
HUMBLED LORD, through your violent love we are brought to confession; Only you can help us face up to our pride, only you can force us to acknowledge our unworthiness, only you can keep us from playing at being faithful. LORD OF THE FLOOD, wash us everyday, drown us in your healing baptism. We as a church pray for a renewed call to discipleship. Please calm us with your spirit, and teach us how to live lives of tacit holiness. Makes us your hands to feed the hungry and tend the sick, give us the strength to persevere in suffering. Father we do pray for suffering among us, that we might grasp the wisdom of the cross and learn to live lives obedient to your spirit. Lead us to your kingdom and humble us at your feet Lord. Teach us your smell, and let us not forget the voice of the master. We praise you Almighty God -- you spoke the cosmos into being and reclaimed our existence through the death and Resurrection of your Wisdom. May the Holy Spirit continually create an appetite in this royal priesthood for the sacrament of your body and blood. May we as a people rejoice in the friendship of your kingdom. Help us be truth-tellers, lovers, and feeders of the poor. May your goodness be seen in the land of the living Lord, in the name of the father the son and the holy spirit, AMEN.
Prayer for Humility By Tristin Hassell