“Do nothing through strife or vain-glory; but in humility let each regard his neighbor better than himself.” Philippians 2:3
When I was in college I used to often say – “Sure you’re entitled to your opinion but I can’t help it if you’re wrong!” I was convinced my point of view was correct on everything.
Now, on the surface this type of statement seems somewhat comical and absurd. We all “know” this isn’t how we’re supposed to view the opinion of someone else or another person’s perspective. Right?
I thought I had left this arrogance and lack of humility in the past but as I reflect on my life, the many areas where I lack humility are painfully obvious.
It occurred to me that arrogance or lack of humility holds its power in how subtle and unassuming it can be! It’s there and we don’t even realize it.
We think we’re being understanding and compassionate but yet how often, if we’re honest with ourselves, do we ultimately believe and think that we’re right and that if everyone simply agreed with us the world would be a much better place?
It doesn’t matter what area of our personal or public lives we discuss: whether it is as individuals, families, communities, political parties, religious groups, ethnic groups, gender based groups – the list goes on and on. So often we believe our way is the best and other views simply are not valid or worthy of discussion. What kind of idiot could possibly not agree with me?
We believe our perspective is the best and the right way to view the world.
This confidence in our point of view may result in us devaluing the perspectives of those with whom we disagree and in the process we devalue them as human beings.
However, we’re limited and unable to see all of the circumstances surrounding all of the events in the world.
You see, all of our opinions and perspectives are shaped by our life stories, our experiences, our successes and failures, our physical make up, our entire human experience has created whom we are today, each and every one of us. The beautiful thing about this is that we’re each our own unique individual, with our unique stories. But they are limited – we cannot possibly know or experience all that others have. We must except our limitations and open our hearts and minds to others. To discard another’s point of view, beliefs and perspective is to discard their life. It is putting our selves above them – it is the ultimate in the lack of humility.
It takes humility to see others as equals, as valuable as our selves or even more valuable.
You set the tone in your family, communities, at work and every where else! If we are to Love one another, be compassionate and understanding then it starts with humility.
Lack of humility opens the door for judgment, condemnation, taking a position of superiority, lack of forgiveness (there’s no need to forgive if we’re always right), confrontation, defensiveness and intolerance – none of which creates an environment of Love.
If we forget that we are all one and that everything comes from God, and not from us as individuals, then we have fallen into the trap of arrogance / lack of humility. We are placing our selves above others. We must be comfortable admitting: when we’re wrong, that we don’t know or have the answer (haven’t got a clue), that our perspective and “knowledge is limited and that some times we simply don’t understand? That at the end of the day, we’re really not any more special than anyone else…
How often do we really regard our neighbor as better than our self?