Some Thoughts on Humility
I love that quote. “Humility” and “Pride” are kind of like a pair of salt & pepper shakers that go together. Rarely do you hear of one without hearing about the other also. Naturally when we’re prideful we think a lot of ourselves. Perhaps we’re super talented, super smart, super sexy, or super whatever else. In and of themselves, it is not a sin to be super talented, smart, sexy, or whatever else. The problem, and sin, comes when we think too much about how super we are at those things. Elder Holland is a terrific speaker, but I highly doubt he sits in the mirror in the morning telling himself how super-dee-duper he is. That would be pride. To be truly humble we need simply think of ourselves less.
Today I just wanted to share a few thoughts on humility, and a few quotes from our Prophets, Seers, and Revelators about the subject also. Each quote comes from a slightly different context, but I believe can give us greater insight into how to develop a truer sense of humility in our own lives.
To the audience of the General Young Women’s Meeting just a few weeks ago President Thomas S. Monson said,
Besides attending your Sunday meetings and your weeknight activities, when you have the chance to be involved in seminary, whether in the early morning or in released-time classes, take advantage of that opportunity. Many of you are attending seminary now. As with anything in life, much of what you take from your seminary experience depends on your attitude and your willingness to be taught. May your attitude be one of humility and a desire to learn.”
In General Conference a week later President Henry B. Eyring in his address in the General Priesthood Session was listing requirements for our families to be within our temple covenants. After already giving some guidelines he said,
[Another] imperative is to love your wife. It will take faith and humility to put her interests above your own in the struggles of life. You have the responsibility to provide for and to nurture the family with her while serving others. That can at times consume all the energy and strength you have. Age and illness may increase your wife’s needs. If you choose even then to put her happiness above your own, I promise you that your love for her will increase.”
Also in our Conference from a couple of weeks ago Elder Richard G. Scott taught us eloquently on how to better receive revelation in our personal lives. In teaching us how to increase our spirituality to grow closer to God he said,
Humility is a fertile soil where spirituality grows and produces the fruit of inspiration to know what to do. It gives access to divine power to accomplish what must be done. An individual motivated by a desire for praise or recognition will not qualify to be taught by the Spirit. An individual who is arrogant or who lets his or her emotions influence decisions will not be powerfully led by the Spirit.”
In Elder Bednar’s now famous talk from the April 2005 General Conference about the “The Tender Mercies of the Lord” he said,
[T]he Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings.”
Of course there are countless scriptures that deal with humility. My favorite of which is the Lord speaking directly through one of his prophets saying,
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
I know from personal experience, and my countless flaws and weaknesses, that those words are very true.
Undoubtedly humility is a bedrock of true Christian discipleship. However, one does not become humble just because they want to become humble. It is a process. And I would never encourage one to be foolish enough to ask Heavenly Father for humility, because He will undoubtedly give you ample opportunities to be humble if you do. (That’s a perfect case of be careful what you ask for.) What I would encourage you to do though is make humility a subject of prayer, of meditation, and of study. – I am by no means humble enough in my daily dealings to even be suggesting such things… – But I can share with you from experience that in so doing you will draw closer to our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. A thorough study of the word “Humility” in the Topical Guide is time well spent for anyone.
My guide to gaining humility though? Simply stop thinking about yourself as our good friend C.S. Lewis says. That doesn’t mean you have to belittle yourself in any way. Rather, it means that in forgetting yourself you will actually build yourself up.
The Lord loves a humble people. The question is, are we humble enough to feel the fullness of His love?
It is entirely up to us.
– Stan Way