Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 1 Peter 5:5-6 (ESV)
Do something with me – think about a famous Hollywood star like Will Smith or Angelina Jolie. Now, one of the worst things you can say about a star today is that they are a diva – demanding their way, treating people badly, etc. Diane and I used to watch a show called the Pretender – the main character was a super smart guy who could become any kind of person, do any kind of job he wanted and all along doing this he was solving crimes and such. But since that show was cancelled, I haven’t seen the star anywhere else, and somewhere I read that he was quite a difficult person to work with. Maybe that’s why.
My point is that today humility is a very attractive character trait, even amongst secular people. And yet, when we think about humility, we don’t realize that our worldview is 180 degrees different from the worldview of Ancient Rome. In that culture, if you said someone was humble, you were not complimenting them – you were calling them a name. It is fascinating to note that for the Greeks, humility was a character quality that made you weak and despised. It was the quality of a slave.
But Christianity turned this all around…humility is mentioned 270 times in the Bible and it’s almost always positive, so much so that in today’s world, if you say someone is humble even outside of Christian contexts, it is considered a compliment.
The lesson? Christianity has an effect on the culture – and people are mistaken who think that you can remove the Bible and expect everything to be the same. Maybe for a generation or a generation and a half, but the positive effects of Christianity won’t last, and you end up with a society that you and I would never want to live in.
For Tuesday, November 17th: 2 Peter 1 (we should be back on track if you are an Edgewood person who received a handout for the Inspired readings – believe it or not, some unnamed person – with the initials RK – gave James six chapters and 1 Peter four chapters. Oh well.)