“Wow! God made you so very beautiful!”
Usually I make more of an effort to point out more meaningful attributes in my 3 year old, but that moment just struck me.
“Yeah! He did!” When she responded to me the way she did, the Lutheran in me cringed! “Oh no! Vanity! Arrogance! Sinful PRIDE!!” But, no! Not at all. Because HE DID. Our loving Father’s hand created her beautifully.
“For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”
Scary stuff, that pride. So scary that we sometimes find it difficult to admit that we have any strengths at all. There are so few people I know that know how to take a compliment.
We can get too caught up in humility, I think, that we miss the entire point of it.
C.S. Lewis also has a thing or two to say about humility:
"True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."
We get to the point that we realize that we are nothing without God. We are powerless. We are deserving of death. We are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. It’s all true. But then we dwell there. Why would we stay there? In a place without God?? Why would we want to be anywhere without God? The point is that we DO have God, and He has given us incredible blessings in our lives, and created us with great care and greater purpose.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
It is not sinful pride to acknowledge that the Master and Creator of the universe has made something beautiful in you when you are acknowledging Him and thanking and glorifying Him with it! My husband and I lived in China for 2 years after I graduated from college. Our last year there we met a woman who had a huge impact on my life. She was incredible. She had so many talents and gifts. She could play just about any instrument, had a gorgeous singing voice, and was just a beautiful, giving, loving woman. She knew very, very little English. We met often in my last few months living there. Whenever I or someone else would compliment her or acknowledge her gifts or talents she always responded the exact same way, “God give me”. With exactly half of her whole English vocabulary, the thing I heard her say more than anything else was the beautiful distinction between pride and humility. I know half of my vocabulary isn't currently dedicated exclusively to glorifying God. How wonderful it would be if the things people heard us say more than anything else pointed them directly to God.
Humility does not mean living in a way that denies any strengths or admirable qualities in ourselves. It is living in a way that sees those gifts, doesn’t compare them with the gifts of others, but gives 100% of the glory and credit to God. If someone tells you that you are beautiful or talented, rather than the awkward responses we usually have which direct as much attention away from ourselves and to our flaws, someone else’s strengths, or whatever else, we could try directing that attention toward God!
“Thank you! I am daily humbled that God made me the way He did or even made me at all! Believe me, I have countless flaws, but it is pretty incredible to be a work of creation made perfect in the eyes of God through Christ!” or maybe even just “Glory to God!”
Make it your own, of course. And don’t be prideful, but don’t downplay the beauty God has created, even when it is in you. What if someone else tells my daughter she’s beautiful? What do I want her to say? “No, I’m not”?? Of course not. What a beautiful thing it could be for someone to point out the beauty of my daughter and for her to point directly to God, with full confidence that He made her just the way she is, and she couldn’t be happier about it.