You know when you walk into a room and it’s obvious there’s a wise guy (or wise gal) who, let’s say…is not so humble? As you approach the room, you can hear their brash voice echoing down the hallway. Most words that are coming out of their mouths sound something like, “Me, Myself and I”. Everyone is thinking it, but nobody is saying it. It’s life draining. Even nauseating.
If you’re like me, you try to avoid people who come across as proud at all costs. But inevitably, from time to time, we find ourselves mingling with the proud peacocks again.
Maybe they’re overcompensating. Maybe they are being manipulative. Maybe they’re just clueless to how they’re coming across. In any case, it’s still rather repulsive.
But isn’t it so interesting that the very things that can cause us agitation and a good degree of frustration we can end up being guilty of ourselves?
You see, it may look very different than just talking loudly about yourself. What about when you’re out in public and maybe without even knowing it you start sizing yourself up and comparing yourself to those around you? Whether it be someone who is a different race, has a different socioeconomic status, someone who is disabled or someone who doesn’t meet society’s checklist when it comes to looking good…being hot…being a part of the “in” crowd. Do you consider “them” more important than yourself? I mean really. If we aren’t diligently keeping track of our thoughts, it can be so easy to fall trap to the mindset that we are better than just about everyone around us.
One day I strolled into McDonald’s to get the kids an after school snack. As I walked in I quickly became aware of someone who met one of the “categories” I mentioned above. I knew better. I wasn’t proud of my thoughts, but there I stood feeling them anyway. I went about ordering and was carrying a handful when this person noticed I was struggling to get the door open, stepped out of line to go open the door and held it with the biggest, kindest looking smile. Ouch. God quickly convicted me of my arrogance and my attitude towards this person and that I needed to do some work in this area (still do).
When Paul writes, “In humility consider others better than yourselves…” (Philippians 2:3 NIV), he uses a verb that means “to calculate,” “to reckon.” The word implies a conscious judgement resting on carefully weighed facts. (Word Biblical Commentary) To consider others better than yourself, then, is not to say that you have no place; it is to say that you know your place. “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you” (Romans 12:3 Phillips).
“If I think you are more important than I am…and you think I am more important than you are…and he thinks she is more important than he is…and she thinks he is more important than she is…then in the end everyone feels important but no one acts important.” – Max Lucado