One of the characteristics of grace listed in yesterday’s post was “acts with humility, not pride.” As I pondered my One Word for 2018 and asked myself how I’m doing at becoming a woman of grace, I was also challenged to examine myself and wonder how I measure up in the area of humility.
The Bible has plenty to say about being humble. The book of Proverbs contains many warnings for those who refuse to put others before themselves and both the Old and New Testaments tell of blessings for those who do. Colossians 3:12 has become my life guide. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
There’s an old country and western song that says, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way!” I’ve also heard it said that if you think you’re humble, you probably aren’t. So how can we know if we’re humble or not?
After much reading and pondering, I came up with the following 20 characteristics of a humble person. I’m sure it’s not exhaustive, but I think it’s a reasonably good checklist.
A humble person…
- is not boastful
- is able to set aside personal preferences for the sake of others
- treats others with respect
- is not easily offended
- is grateful for what they have
- is able to rejoice with others
- is not wise in their own eyes
- is teachable
- is able to seek advice or ask for help
- willingly serves other people without drawing attention to themselves
- accepts their own limitations
- accepts correction without becoming defensive
- takes responsibility for their actions and apologizes when wrong
- is merciful, forgiving quickly and not holding grudges
- doesn’t get frustrated with the weaknesses of others
- is self-controlled
- listens to others and doesn’t feel the need to speak their mind in every situation
- is comfortable allowing others to have centre stage
- doesn’t always have to be right
- doesn’t insist on their own way
In a “me first” world, it isn’t always easy to be humble and there are many misconceptions about what it means. In the same way that being gracious is not the same as being wishy-washy or weak-kneed, humility is not a sign of weakness. Being humble is not belittling or undervaluing oneself, nor is it an indication of poor self-esteem. Like grace, humility is actually a strength.