For the past week I have been wrestling with this nagging concept that I will call, “False Humility.” False humility is that response that looks like humility, may even sound like humility, but it is really insecurity. There is a fine line between the two. False humility is very subtle and often dismissed. I am having a hard time dismissing false humility in me.
I will admit that I am really bad at receiving compliments. I dismiss them even before the compliment is fully out of the person’s mouth. I am not a good receiver period, but more so with compliments. For me compliments highlight my insecurity. I respond out of that insecurity, but that response can also look like humility. It’s not. I think the lie behind false humility is that I think dismissing a compliment, or encouragement, makes me look humble. I can’t even say, “thank you” before I am justifying why I am not that compliment.
Choosing humility does not come at the price of my own self-worth. If I am responding in a way that dismisses my self-worth that is insecurity. Tearing myself down is not humility it is insecurity.
So what does “false humility” look like?
Here’s an example from my life. Let’s say someone compliments me on something I have done. They tell me that it’s really good. My immediate response is, “I could’ve done better. It’s not my best work. Or really you could’ve done better.”
A more identifiable example has to do with looks. If someone compliments me on my looks some how I immediately dismiss their words. My response can sound like, “it’s not my best hair day. Or this outfit? I got dressed really fast.” Subtle but dismissive. This says more about my insecurities than my humility.
What does humility look like?
Humility is a character trait that acknowledges the need for a savior. A person of humility is real about their weaknesses in a way that acknowledges a need for grace and forgives, but does not diminish their self-worth. Humility acknowledges sin, but does not diminish the worth of the sinner. The person who humbles themselves is teachable. Teachable people don’t claim to know it all, but also doesn’t dismiss what they do know. Humble people are approachable and open for conversation, even hard ones. Humble people own their stuff, as well as, engage to make things right. Humble people do not dismiss their self-worth in any of those areas.
Humility does not take the place of honor, but considers other better than themselves. False humility in this mindset can sound comparative, and more often involves a blow to the self. Humble people who are able to consider others better looks like celebrating another person gifts and talents. Humility can celebrate someone else fully without comparison.
Jesus was perfect humility. Jesus chose to die to himself all the time in humility. Jesus never dismissed his self-worth, or the worth of others. Jesus never compared himself to anyone. Jesus valued everyone. He considered everyone better than himself and valued them fully.
Jesus spent many days giving the most incredible speeches to hundreds and thousands of people. BUT then he washed feet and touched the untouchable.
One day Jesus gave an amazing speech and performed a miracle to feed five thousand plus people, but he also helped pass out that bread and the fish he just multiplied. Jesus never acted like he was above anything.
I want to be a person of true humility. I want true humility to take root in me. I desire my response to say more about him than my insecurities.
What does your humility saying?