I’ve been tinkering with a definition of humility, and wonder if it’s the willingness and ability to patiently endure humiliation in the hope of a good outcome eventually.
The person embarking on humility is certainly a lover, a listener, and a learner — and their reward is to become one of the company of the learned. The learned understand:
“It is quite clear that between love and understanding there is a very close link. He who loves understands and he who understands loves. One who feels understood feels loved and one who loves feels sure of being understood.”
— Paul Tournier (1898 – 1986)
Understanding is conducive to love. If we understand someone, we can love them. If they feel understood, they can love us. Yet if we choose to love, understanding is sure more often than not to follow. And would it matter if it didn’t follow, if we were committed to love? Such a love finds its greatest contentment simply in pleasing God.
To please God is to live as the obedient — as best we can hope for, within our brokenness. The Lord requires no perfection from us, except for the perfect diligence of considered preparation.
“The Lord God has given Me
— Isaiah 50:4 (HCSB)
What better understanding is there than the one who understands the Lord, and His Words? Such a person waits on God in the awakened seconds of serenity that light up the morning. (And if that’s not an accurate depiction of morning, set it as a goal to attain, because otherwise you’re missing out. Praise God you’re alive.) As we wait, we’re given the Words, and those Words are a salve for the weary. But we must wait and then listen as those who are instructed. Humility of surrender must come first.
Those who wait learn to listen. Those who listen learn to understand. Those who love humility learn to love.
The learned person is one who sets their aim on learning; as a person cannot fail in being instructed when we hold fast to instruction. It’s the noblest aim of the person who seeks first to understand rather than first seek to be understood.
Loving, listening, and learning: the life and hope of joy regale in these!
© 2016 Steve Wickham.