Don’t be so full of yourself! Be humble! Generally speaking this is good advice, but it is often misunderstood.
Pride is typically seen as being cocky, self-centered, and looking down on others. When we assume we are better than others based on our family name, professional credentials, or charisma, for example, we have fallen into pride.
At work we may assume everyone else’s options are stupid. And at home we may put our wife down for making a suggestion that is different from our own.
Being overconfident in our abilities and perspectives leads to pride and rightly should be avoided.
However, in our tendency to avoid pride, we often swing to the opposite extreme of false humility.
If pride is thinking more of ourselves than we ought, false humility is thinking less of ourselves than we ought.
When someone affirms our gifts and we downplay it, or focus instead on how great someone else is this, is false humility.
We may assume our gifts are less important and our opinions less valuable, so we defer to others instead of offering our thoughts to a situation.
Both pride and false humility fail to provide an honest reflection of who God has created us to be.
True humility, on the other hand, provides a proper perspective – not overstated or diminished – but just right.
God has given us each a unique strength to bring more life and goodness into the world. As a gift, there is no room here to boast, but downplaying our gift does not honor God either.
Let’s not be full of ourselves. But also, let us not sell ourselves short.
Let us live in true humility – boldly sharing the strength God has given us.