A Lesson in Humility

1-30By Greg Clark of Independence, Missouri, USA

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you…

—Colossians 3:12–13

I sat in the hospital waiting room, focusing on my wife and her medical problems. Soon, a family of four entered, all middle-aged and older.

A glance determined their socio-economic status. Their dress was slovenly. Their straggly hair was dirty, and so was their skin. One was missing several teeth.

They seemed oblivious and insensitive to others. They loudly and unabashedly discussed personal topics that were none of anybody else’s business.

They were beyond annoying. And the longer they stayed, the more they annoyed.

Then one of them, a woman in her late 60s or early 70s, jolted me with a simple statement to a nearby pastor: “I want to become a minister someday.”

My initial impression: “No how, no way.”

Almost immediately, a wave of shame slammed into me. Who was I to judge her? Who was I, based on a few minutes of observation, to decide whether somebody was fit for ministry? Who was I to know what call she might have from God?

It struck me that she might be better qualified than I. After all, I knew about Colossians 3:12–13, which calls me to clothe myself “with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” and to “bear with one another.” Yet, here I was, a modern Pharisee, passing judgment—something I should never do.

God, I thank you for this humbling lesson. I pray you will forgive me and help me remember the Worth of All Persons. Help me to engage in compassionate ministries. And I pray you will bless the woman’s need for a deeper relationship with you.

Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, thank you for the lessons we learn from one another. Forgive us when we judge. Turn our hearts to sharing Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity
Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.

Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “dangerous” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep you and others from being one in Christ’s peace.

Peace Covenant
I will remember, God, that when I accept others in their diversity, I strengthen my unity with them and you.

Leave a comment


  1. Patricia Bayless Browne

     /  25 February 2013

    The insight shared in this invites us all to look deeply into our hearts and evaluate what we need to add and subtract. And then we are invited to look with seeing hearts into the world around us and take stock of others who may need God’s love. Thanks to the writer and editor for making it possible for this to be published.

  2. Dorcas Wilkinson

     /  25 February 2013

    How appropriate this is today. I, too, as such a Pharisee! May God be gentle with me in God’s grace.


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