“The Charlottetown Hospital is a worthy cause and all, but I am not prepared to suffer humiliation for it!” – Anne of Green Gables
That sums up many of my issues with Jesus. I’m prepared to do many things and be seen as many things, but Lord save me from humiliation. Self-sacrifice that makes me appear good hearted and kind: check yes. Unpleasant tasks that make me the hero of the story: sign me up. Taking pity on that person and talking to them for a reasonable amount of time: sure.
Being friends with that awkward person? Putting myself in a position to show weakness that’s unflattering? Being vulnerable and open about socially unacceptable sin? No. No. No.
The times when I fight most with God are the times He gives me opportunity for humiliation. I mean, who wants everyone to see that they aren’t quite as awesome as they make themselves out to be? I can’t be alone in this.
But…Humiliation. Humili-ation. Humili…ty. Humility.
To quote Clive Staples Lewis, “A proud man is always looking down on people, and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above.” I cannot wonder where God is if I expect to see him beneath my feet. And though I know I am unholy and depraved, most days I don’t feel the full weight of my sin. I get by with thinking in comparisons. Because surely I’m not as bad as so-and-so over there, so really I must be doing okay. I carry the comforting impression that I only need a taste of God’s grace; just enough to polish and shine a couple spots.
In my vanity, I make assumptions about my sin, or lack thereof, and I look for a God who is just giving me an extra boost into heaven, rather than the God who is the only one who can pull me up. In pushing this perspective, I deprive Him of the glory He is due. For His greatest glory rests not in the height of the mountains or the depths of the oceans, but in the fact that His grace abounds so deeply that it can wash over and redeem me, the worst of sinners.
You would think that in being so rescued, I could easily identify my place; the lowest of the low raised to sit at the right hand of the Highest. But the truth of the matter is that I continue to pretend I’m somewhere in the middle, that I don’t need God, really. I’ve got this. My serving of humble pie arrives when God reminds me of who I am. Of whose I am. For God chose the weak and foolish things of this world. I’d like to think I’m not so weak nor so foolish. Sometimes I think I’d rather God didn’t pick me.
But God chose me and He continues to choose me. When I finally see what I am in the light of Christ, my view is of filth and wretchedness that has been washed away. My identity in Christ is one of grace. Of course, I will forget this. Again, and again, and again. And God will gently but firmly remind me. Again, and again, and again. Grace upon grace. Because I’m still not prepared to suffer humiliation, but He was.