What is humility? Does wearing old, threadbare, plain colored clothes make us more humble? Does a quiet personality mean I am more humble than someone who is an extrovert? How about never being assertive or making a decision but always deferring? Most times we can consciously, through our own will power, do these things or carry on in this type of surface or manufactured humility. We really see if we are humble by what comes out of our hearts and mouths in the private times of small or great pressure. How do I react when someone transgresses against me?
What we saw in our last study is how Jesus’ life and His response to others revealed true, genuine, operational humility. We need this humility because it is proven to be effective on the battlefield of life. Genuine humility is “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
Our main verse was Proverbs 19:11, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” This is a glory we should earnestly seek for: to daily receive the grace to overlook all transgressions that come against us. A transgression could come from someone in our life who blatantly sins against us with malicious intent. Or perhaps we see one of our brothers or sisters doing something wrong. How do we react? (Genesis 9:23) A transgression could be in the harsh or angry tone of voice that someone uses when speaking to us. Pride, not the transgression, causes us to be irritated, angry or cast down into self-pity. Opportunities for us to live out Proverbs 19:11 happen multiple times every day. In John 8 we read of some who were wrongly accusing Jesus of having a demon. Part of Jesus’ response to this accusation was, “if I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies Me…” This response to accusation is true humility.
In Mark 10:32, Jesus “took the twelve aside and began to explain to them what was going to happen to Him,” Imagine yourself, as one of His disciples, talking privately with Jesus and He begins to explain the pain and suffering He will soon go through. Speaking of Himself, Jesus said to the twelve, “they will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.” Mark 10:34
In response, James, John and their mom (Matthew 20:20) ask if one can sit on His right and one on His left in His glory. Just like the disciples, our hearts also have ambition and pride lurking in the shadows leading us to plan out how a situation of pain and loss for someone else could possibly end in gain or advantage for us. God can cleanse our hearts of all this evil selfishness.
Two other reactions to note: one is the other ten disciples. It says, “hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.” Mark 10:41. Indignation means to “feel a violent irritation”. Why were they so violently irritated that James and John were asking Jesus to command them the places of honor?
Even though the disciples had seen the humility of Jesus during all the time they had spent with Him, they did not yet possess it themselves. We also, at times, find ourselves reacting to situations with irritation but God’s will for us is to become more and more like Jesus. To be able to speak the truth in gentleness and love and receive the glory that comes to us when we overlook a transgression.
The other reaction is what we see in Jesus. He was not offended or stung with self-pity when the disciples overlooked His suffering with callousness comments and prideful ambition. He also did not berate or scold them because of their transgression. Instead, in perfect humility, He overlooked their transgression and used the moment to share words of truth that would help set them free. We have opportunities just like this every day in our home, at church and in our workplace.
My hope and prayer is to grow more like Jesus in this humility. To overlook a transgression takes true humility and causes me to bless others in my thought life and in my words…if I do, I will be seeking the glory of God and not myself. Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” It is our glory to overlook a transgression!
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon