Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hydra of Humility

"During my afternoon 'meditations,'—which I at least attempt quite regularly now—I have found out ludicrous and terrible things about my own character. Sitting by, watching the rising thoughts to break their necks as they pop up, one learns to know the sort of thoughts that do come.
"And, will you believe it, one out of every three is the thought of self-admiration: when everything else fails, having had its neck broken, up comes the thought 'what an admirable fellow I am to have broken their necks!”' I catch myself posturing before the mirror, so to speak, all day long. I pretend I am carefully thinking out what to say to the next pupil (for his good, of course) and then suddenly realize I am really thinking how frightfully clever I'm going to be and how he will admire me...
"And then when you force yourself to stop it, you admire yourself for doing that. It is like fighting the hydra... There seems to be no end to it. Depth under depths of self-love and self-admiration." ~ C. S. Lewis in a letter to his friend Arthur

True humility has always been a struggle of mine. When I say "true humility" I do not mean the attitude where one is always telling everyone how lowly they are. I mean the kind of humility that Tim Keller calls "blessed self-forgetfulness" which is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. This subject and quote has been on my mind a lot lately because I just recently I preached a sermon on it at my church, St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. If you are interested in hearing more thoughts on it you can listen to the sermon here (or if you like you can read my transcript here) but if not, I hope the Lewis quote is enough to get you thinking about true humility on your own.

By His Grace,

1 comment:

Big Jen said...

It's nice to hear your voice!