What does authentic humility really look like?

When God blesses us with something we need never apologize for it.

But what does humility look like?

As long as we acknowledge that God is the ultimate source of every blessing and show our thankfulness in meaningful ways, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of our labor. Pride rears its head when we twist our thinking to convince ourselves we did it all on our own. That’s when we cease to be humble.

Many people confuse personality traits with humility.  Some of the most humble people I know are true extroverts. Some of the least humble people I know are introverts.

Humility is never about personality but always about the heart.


Further, humility doesn’t mean we never confront or share our opinions either.  We agree, don’t we, Christ was humble. Actually it doesn’t matter if we agree or not. Scripture says it is so.

But Jesus wasn’t meek or timid acting. Hardly.  He often harshly addressed the hypocrites around him.  Even during his trial, he never backed down from the truth.

So humility isn’t about our words, either.

There are some evenings, I say to God, “God, I think I made you smile today and that makes me feel good.” I want to know I’ve made God smile. Why would I want anything less? I don’t feel the least bit prideful about saying that. Maybe that’s because on other days (a lot more of them, I might add) I have to say, “God, today, I think I made you sad and that makes me feel awful.”

  • If we can look in the mirror and once we look away forget about ourselves we are well on our way to humility.
  • If we can pick up someone else’s mess without complaining, we are well on our way.
  • If we can graciously offer our place in line to someone behind us, we are well on our way.
  • If we can visit someone who needs a visit even though they’re not the most pleasant person, we are on your way.  I believe as with most aspects of life we have to be intentional or we simply will let things slide

Deliberately put yourselves in situations that keep you humble.

I want to tell you a true story. Your first thought may be that this woman I’m going to tell you about was less than humble because she told her story. That’s not true. She’s one of the most genuine people I know.

It happened in a Bible class I was teaching and the subject was relationships. Her demeanor in telling her story was gentle and sweet and I could tell she struggled with sharing it for fear she would bring too much attention to herself. But it perfectly fit in our discussion. It was a small group that night and we were committed to confidentiality.

It happened in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. She had four young children. Her and her husband struggled financially. This particular day everyone was getting on everyone’s nerves. Her husband was becoming frustrated with the children and with her. This was very much unlike him. (I knew her husband and I knew this to be true.) This tension continued for the afternoon and she was to the point of tears.

She was also feeling anger herself and so she went into a room and prayed.

Everyone was gathered in the family room sulking, no one talking to one another.

She went into the kitchen, filled a large round bowl with water, and gathered some soap and a washcloth.

She entered the room, and without saying a word she knelt in front of her husband. She described how immediately everyone became quiet as they watched what she was doing. Her husband was so taken aback, he just sat there. Without one word, she took off his shoes and socks and gently and lovingly washed his feet.  Her family was so struck by what she was doing, tears came to their eyes. (Mine, too, as I listened.)

She never said what happened next. She ended her story very quietly and none of us spoke, even the never-at-a-loss-for words teacher. As I recall, the silence in our room continued for quite awhile as we processed what she’d done. I will never forget it. It is to this day the most graphic example of true humility I’ve ever heard witnessed.

I wish you could have all heard her tell this story. It was heartbreakingly beautiful.

This young woman could have  justified her wounded feelings but she knew her husband was unhappy and rather than chastise him, she took the opportunity to humble herself before him.

 Humility isn’t an intrinsic quality. Humility is an action.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

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