Humility- Readings: Mt 15: 21 – 28
Humility is a source to learn life’s valuable things and it is God’s way of teaching His loved ones. ‘And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’ – Deuteronomy 8:3 The power of the word of God is revealed only when one starts realising the fact that we do not live because of worldly things alone but also by a divine grace. Unfortunately, this realisation comes only through humility. God humbles us so that we may see Him. Ira Stanphil’s song, “He washed My eyes with tears that I might see” is a testament to this fact. Do we humble ourselves when God intends to humble us? ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.’ – 1 Peter 5:6-7 Most of the time we are unable to humble ourselves and that is because of our pride. Knowingly or unknowingly every person is a victim to this pride. ‘Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.’ – Proverbs 16:18. The only remedy for this is love. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4. This is not any ordinary human love with expectation of multiple return. Paul mentions this love in Romans 5:5 “The love of God, that is within us will never put us to shame”. We have to inherit this love along with His Holy Spirit, till then we only have human love which may often put us to shame. “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:11 This could be understood if we concentrate on the conversation between God and Satan in the book of Job in chapter 1:8 and 2:3. Jesus loved His disciple John and entrusted His mother, Mary in his custody. In turn, if we love Him we put our trust in Him. Trusting in God humbles us but trusting in our own ability gives way to pride. Mt 15:21-28 & Mk 7: 24-30 tells us how vividly these Gospel portions depict humility amidst humiliation. A gentile woman took courage to meet Jesus who was always surrounded by Jews. There would have been something that would have led her to encounter the love of Jesus though there is no reason explained in both the Gospels. The love of Jesus made her trust Him. Trust surpasses all situations. Surprisingly, Jesus talked about children and addressed her as a dog. If she was sent by someone, this would have been a great blow not only for her but for her community too but fortunately, she loved Jesus. That love, did not provoke her to anger but helped her accept her state. Though the usage of the word ‘dog’ by Jesus sounds quite harsh but in that contemporary period, proverbial meaning of ‘dog’ referred to backsliders of faith. 2 Peter 2:22 What the true proverb says has happened to them:“The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” This gentile woman was aware of her approach for temporal gain and was able to accept it as even the temporal gainers could at least have the crumbs of those which are fallen from the Children’s table. This gesture comes from a humble heart but those who convey their humility through their body language or through modest words cannot bring this out amidst humiliation. What is important is acknowledging His sovereign power in our helpless condition. This gentile woman was able to inherit God’s blessings by not withstanding it according to Jn 1:12. She ate the bread of the children by becoming His child. Do not think that she ate some of the crumbs that were scattered under the table. Now crumbs fall from her table. Are we worthy to eating those crumbs? He humbles those whom He loves in order to make them cherish the Divine blessings. May God help us to humble ourselves. 1 Corinthians 11:32 ‘But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world’.