This is one of my favorite illustrations. It is the transcript of an actual radio conversation between a U. S. naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995.
Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the captain of a U. S. Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER U.S.S. LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET, THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS, AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS ACCOMPANY US. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THAT’S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE TAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.
Canadian: We are a lighthouse. Your call.
I just love the subtlety of this exchange. I am betting you have a few of these folks in your life too. They just seem to think they are larger than life, more important that everyone else and have a right to an array of special privileges.
I am sure that is why Paul took the time to pen the words in Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think himself more highly than he ought to think…”
Humility is the opposite of pride. It is an accurate assessment of our gifts, our abilities, and our potential talents. As one person has said, it not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.
Humility is a key to gaining wisdom. It’s a mindset that keeps us open to God’s direction. It prepares our hearts to receive His grace. It allows us a sense of patience when we are confronted. It is a softening of the soul.
Jesus is the ultimate epitome of humility. The one time He describes Himself in the New Testament, He declares, “I am gentle and lowly in heart…”
This week let us all work on humbling ourselves before others. Remember: when we exercise humility, we are choosing to see the world and everyone in it, through the eyes of Jesus.
Tough to do, but so rewarding!