“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV)
I stood there, mustering all the strength I could to stay and not fight back, but wishing the floor would open up and swallow me. Have you ever felt this way?
According to vocabulary.com, “Humiliation comes from the Latin word humiliare, which means ‘to humble.’ So if you are caught in a situation that causes humiliation, you are humbled.” Humiliating someone to make a point is never right. You can be humbled by someone through humiliation because of a wrong-doing or someone can humiliate you for doing what is right. It is also different when you humble yourself for the cause of Christ. Humbling yourself is challenging. Boasting and bragging are effortless. We saw this in the life of Joseph (Genesis 37). First, he was favored by his father Jacob. Then he was given dreams of a future life of eminence. He bragged about it to his brothers, and the results were not good. I can easily see this in me.
I recently launched a nonprofit organization called Flowers for Elders, a ministry that provides floral arrangements to patients in convalescent hospitals. Toward the beginning of this ministry, God made me cross paths with a manager at a local grocery store that carried flowers. I asked him if the store would be willing to donate flowers to my nonprofit. He was enthused! He saw the good in what I was doing, and so right there and then even without showing him my credentials, he provided me with several bouquets, “to start me off.”
He escorted me to my car with all my groceries and had the chance to see the two dozen roses I bought for the same purpose. He reassured me he would check with the head store manager and schedule regular bouquet pick-ups. I did a few Saturday pick-ups but was informed by him that he learned they already were obligated to another ministry. However, he still wanted me to come by and pick up every other Saturday.
My Saturday pick-up time came but this was different. There I was at the back of the store, following directions to pick up flowers, and I was given a third-degree by the person who was marking the flowers. He told me that they were already giving them to another ministry. I tried to explain that I didn’t want to take away from anyone, but my words bounced back like a ping pong ball. There was just no getting through to him. My flesh would have stomped, left, and vowed never to shop at this store again. Pride would have claimed its crown. After the first explanation, I stood, did not argue but expressed my gratitude for whatever I would be given. I walked away, bouquets in my arms. Even with the bad taste in my mouth, I felt victorious–not because I got something, but because the Holy Spirit enabled me to think more of who I was doing this for and not of–me. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to humble ourselves and overcome our natural tendencies to boast.