We’ve all got pet peeves, right? I’ve got more than a few. I get irritated at things that beep incessantly, dogs that jump on me, babies that fuss during weddings, people who take my parking spot...
That’s right – my parking spot. I used to live in a house with a couple of roommates, and we were given three parking spots. However, someone else, who didn’t live there, would often take my parking spot. And it infuriated me – after all, I’m the one paying the rent, right? I’m the one who lives there, who has a lot to bring in from her car at night, and somebody else is parking in my spot! It’s just not right.
I really got angry about this, I’m not gonna lie. But then I started wondering why I was so mad. Was it really about the parking spot? Or was it about something else, something bigger than that?
There’s a passage from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity that’s been rolling around in my head ever since I started thinking about this. Listen to this: “If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, 'How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?’”
My answer to each of those questions is, “I hate it.”
Why do I hate it? Because I feel I deserve better treatment. I deserve to be noticed. I deserve to have that parking spot. I, I, I, I…uh-oh.
Here’s why humility is so hard for me. If I am able to choose to be humble – for instance, if I drive up to my house, see an empty parking spot nearby, but decide to take one further away so that my neighbor can have the closer spot – then I’m fine. It’s cool – I’m in control, and I have made that choice.
If, however, the path of humility is chosen for me, which is more often the case, then I have a problem. I am left to only react – I have no control. And I don’t like not being in control.
But humility should flow through our actions and our reactions. Look at Philippians 2:5-11:
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Jesus didn’t reach for power. He didn’t strive for attention. He just was who He was. He loved people. He healed people. He often gave up rest and food to minister to the lost and hurting. And even when people mistook Him for a mere man, He accepted it. He was obedient to the mission, even to death. He acted humbly, and He reacted humbly.
And then God glorified Him.
This whole thing about being noticed and getting ahead and all that – it’s all striving for nothing. God lowers, and God elevates. He just asks us to trust Him to do it in His timing, and to love others as ourselves in the meantime. To keep His mission in mind above all else. It’s a matter of focus, really.
C.S. Lewis concluded his thoughts on pride by saying that the truly humble man “will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
Hmmm...Seems the parking spot is the least of my issues. How about you?