"Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
PRIDE PRECEDES DOWNFALL
By pride, I don't mean healthy confidence, nor one's affirmation of self-worth. By pride I don't mean one's sense of dignity and honor.
But pride probably refers to these people in our story that will throw Sabbath-day policies instead of celebrating the healing of a sick man (vs. 1-3). By pride, Jesus was pointing to guests that are overly concerned with how their seating designation will project their social status (vs. 7-10). And so by pride, I think it, we mean, an overbearing sense of superiority over others. Or an ego-generated view of ourselves.
Is Jesus flashing a warning sign today saying:
Please be cautious because pride can eventually hurt you.
It can really contaminate our well-being.
Pride can harbor jealousy that leads to bad judgment.
Pride can distort sound thinking that leads to poor choices.
Pride can also turn a deaf-ear to loving corrections...
...and then we miss an opportunity to grow or change.
When Jesus put up this warning sign, "caution, pride can hurt you," it is not to upset us, or to ruin our day. But to wake us up from being proud and to prepare us to turn around.
HUMILITY LEADS TO EXALTATION
Humility is a perplexing virtue. In certain moral issues, one can draw a line of what is right and what is wrong. But humility is a hard-to-catch concept. Once you think you got it, watch out, because that may be "pride" talking. It is unfair to label mere assertiveness as pride, nor we can assume that non-assertiveness is humility. To be talkative and loud doesn't necessary mean arrogance. And to be an introvert, quiet, mild is not synonymous with meekness either.
When u look at the original Greek, humility seems to refer more to an inner condition than outside appearances. Humility is an honest and low view of oneself or a mindset of modesty. Humility is who we are inwardly. Humility is an inner intention of the heart to be content.
Its a condition of inward contentment.
So humility doesn't mean loosing your confidence or strength either. "Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is strength under control" (Unknown).
Jesus did not say, "don't go to fancy dinners." He said "when you to these gatherings, let go of the need to be at a place of honor."
By application, humility is giving way for others to be heard, so healing and reconciliation can take place. Humility are times that you gave an anonymous donation and you did not seek for applause. Humility are times that u are willing to forgive and let go. Humility are those times when you could have taken the credit for an achievement, but you choose to give it your teachers, your parents, partner, your teammates, or to your God who is the power, the grace, the strength behind all your achievements.
So when you feel unappreciated, undervalued, unrewarded, may you be reminded today that there is a God who doesn't sleep nor slumber. God sees your heart. And God is pleased. May you be reminded today that life is mysteriously designed in cycles of how the proud will be humbled and how the humble is blessed with incomparable inner contentment.
Finally, I think humility can change the world. Because underneath the bullying that happens in schools; or the oppressive regime of a dictator on the other side of the world; or the unfairness that takes place in workplaces; is an inner superior complex that wants to promote oneself at the risk of hurting others. We can go against this collective mind-pattern through one simple act of humility at a time. Whether its serving God on Sunday morning, or serving the hungry through our food bank ministry, or serving your family, loved ones, or those in needs, lets change the world one act of servanthood at a time