Friday, July 1, 2016

Relationships That Humble Us

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 182: Today, I am grateful for the relationships that keep us humble. 

If you have any long-term relationships...such as marriage, siblings or know what I am talking about. There is nothing that humbles us more than a child's honest "blurt" of your less than perfect acts of parenthood or moments at home. How about a sibling telling tales of your youthful transgressions? Or, a spouse's honest review of a new dinner recipe or an epic fashion fail?

Real relationships sift through the glamour, the shiny polish and the poorly concealed human side of these earthly bodies. My soul longs to always do the right thing. My worldly influenced brain that is capable of choice beyond instinct ... pulls in other shameful, sinful directions. I find myself on the struggle bus. Yes, the riding the struggle bus. 

(Now, the Earworm is singing Wilson Pickett's Mustang Sally..."The Committments" version "Ride, Sally, ride" followed by a brief flashback to Barney the Purple dinosaur singing. "Sally the camel has two humps". Quiet down, Earworm! ) Oh my...let's get this train back on track. 

The struggle between who we are, who we want to be be... what God calls us to be...  and human nature is a timeless struggle best met with prayer. Since prayer is often abandoned in our times of inner spiritual conflict... God gave us real (and irritatingly honest) relationships to humble us. 

Pride destroys relationships. Humility helps heal, restores divisions and lifts up what is true and right. 

Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right. -Ezra T Benson 

That sums it up. 

Paul says it this way:
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you." Romans 12:3

Really Paul?  Could you be more blunt? No sugar coating the struggle in this passage. I smile because of all the disciples in the early church, Paul knew arrogance and power. His war against this part of his nature...our human nature... is passionate, like everything else he did. He was full throttle or sleeping. Nothing in between. 

The relationships that keep us humble by helping us learn to laugh at ourselves are priceless. They should be treasured beyond measure. Spouses, children, close friends, parents and siblings are the most likely to fill this role. Another "friend" is God's Holy Word. Let's not forget about prayer. Prayer is an avenue to the ear of God in honest and real communication when we remember to wait on His reply. 

God frequently responds to us with these words: "Love me the most"  and  "Love your neighbors as yourself...all of them". We all get some things right...and some things wrong. Holding on to our "rightness" can become the circular stone wall of pride that excludes those who need His love and grace the most. Ouch. 

Humility (and the relationships that keep us humble) reminds us that no one is good enough. The Bible is clear. It is grace...not goodness... that defines the redeemed. This is good news!    

 "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." -James 4:10

That is such a sweet promise. No need to claw our way to the top. Bend to help others. Bow our heads and our hearts in prayer. Believe in His sovereignty. Build up in others what life has broken down. Let Him do the heavy lifting and the "lifting up".  

Today, I am grateful for the relationships that keep us humble...and The One who lifts us up.  

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