It being the day after the Super Bowl we opened our discussion on humility talking about the tendency of some football players to celebrate every play they make with what some may label as an outrageous display of self-promotion. We talked about what may lay at the root of such behavior. Self-promotion and arrogance are the opposite of humility. We then opened with a reading from 1 Peter 5:5-6 which counsels us to clothe ourselves in humility because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” We discussed what it means to be humble. Many in society would say that it is analogous to being weak or shy and unwilling to take a stand for anything. But it is not that at all. It actually means to recognize who it is that deserves the credit for all we are able to do or accomplish. It all comes down to putting God and yourself in the right order. A simple way to state it is to remember that “God is God and I am not.”
We talked about how the call to be humble is, like much of the Christian life, counter cultural. Society often rewards people for extolling their own virtues to get ahead in careers. Examples were given by the participates how throughout the process of becoming a doctor – the application process to medical school, obtaining and succeeding in a residency and then establishing a practice involves self-promotion to some extent. Many participants felt that it is ingrained in us through this process to not be humble and it takes real effort to stay aware and counteract this tendency.
There are numerous persons in the Bible who display their humble character through their words and deeds. The most striking example, of course, is Our Lord who came to us in a most humble setting in a stable and lived only to serve even though he is God almighty. We then read from John 3:22-30 which concerns John the Baptist’s response when his disciples were distressed that Jesus was gaining more notoriety that John was. We discussed the fact that John was in no way weak or meek. He was none of the popular notions of what humble is thought to mean by our society. Also, we are reminded that in Matt 11, Jesus calls John the greatest man ever born. But John’s response to them displays his humble nature by saying that Jesus “must become greater; I must become less.” Clearly he understood who was God and who was not.
We then spent time sharing experiences in which attempts are made to put the doctor on a pedestal in our society. We talked about how we try and counteract that occurring and what things help us to stay humble in our professional lives. We then shared where we struggle with humility. Many in the group discussed their need to be more humble at home with family. The familiarity of the family sometimes makes it hard to stay humble.
We ended the night with a time of sharing prayer needs and praying for each other.