74 ResponsibilityPosted: September 13, 2013
The sixth secret to humility is taking reasonable responsibility.
Looking down on others lifts us up and gives us a false sense of self-esteem and security. We try to define ourselves by our successes and not our failures. We long to feel good about self and seek to maintain this positive view of self. Yet, in seeking to maintain this positive view, we minimize our mistakes while maximizing our accomplishments.
When we humble ourselves and take responsibility for mistakes, we go against our shame and pride. We need to keep in mind that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) In our natural selves, we want to take credit for the things we do. Yet, “all that we have accomplished [God has] done for us.” (Isaiah 26:12) The flip side of this is not taking responsibility for the offense. We need to resist this bent.
In our perfectionism, there is also the risk of going to the opposite extreme; that is, we become overly responsible. Over-responsibility also flows from our pride. We over-estimate our capabilities and think we should have known better if anything bad happens. We expect ourselves to avoid all problems.
We need to find the balance between these two extremes. We need to acknowledge when we have been wrong without being grandiose about what we could have done differently. Safe people help us in this process. We need feedback about our behavior from others.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
Safe people have taken the logs out of their own eyes. They gently help remove others’ specks. They let us know the logs in our own eyes. We have much to learn from them. Eventually, as we learn to let go of our perfectionism and find true humility, we become safe people. Humility will come when we find our identity in Christ and put to death what is not of Him, because our true life is in Him. (Gal. 2:20 & John 14:6) Truly, finding our identity from our successes can only lead us away from Christ.
My protection and success come from God alone. Psalm 62: 7 TLB
Letting go of my earthly identity,
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