Humble and Kind
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
I really struggled this week, putting the right words on the page. I now realize that it wasn’t writer’s block, no constipation here. Rather, the opposite. I’ll spare you the ugly “d” word.
Myriad thoughts coursed through me, I wanted so badly to arrange them perfectly, succinctly on the page. It didn’t work. Then I took a brisk Sabbath stroll under the brilliant blue March sky and overheard Tim McGraw from the cab of my neighbor’s parked pick-up truck.
I’m not a big country music fan, though I do occasionally love me some Johnny Cash thanks to my Texan cousin Curtis Bradford. McGraw sings “Humble and Kind” very well. And thanks to his songwriter, Lori Mckenna, the lyrics resonate with some beautiful truth.
I do want to tweak them a bit though, based on an epiphany I had some years ago, in my 30s. As I prayed the following, I was hit over the head with a Holy Spirit-wielded two-by-four:
“Lord, please keep me humble.”
I laugh at this now, but when I realized the arrogance of my benediction, I was instantly humbled. I was the Pharisee in Yeshua’s parable of Luke 18, thanking God for my perpetual goodness, asking him to maintain it.
So McGraw’s song has a lot of truth, but not the whole truth. And to be clear, I am not a proponent of the “my truth, your truth” idea. There must be a true north, an objective truth, or else everything is relative to whim and intellectual fancy.
McGraw’s lilting refrain, “Always STAY humble and kind,” doesn’t align with reality.
Rather, it should be, “Always BE humble and kind.”
We have a natural proclivity toward self-centeredness. The instruction manual says so. And I believe it, because I know my Maker is trustworthy. I’ve also observed this bent, in myself and others.
Any parent knows, this is the M.O. of a child. Sure, he/she can be darling and sweet (this and the law are what generally keep us from harming them) but we all start as little devils. Have you read Williams Golding’s Lord of the Flies?
In a conversation with the 6th Century BC prophet Jeremiah, the Lord says:
“The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?”
So although we were made “very good”, and “for good”, we became corrupted when we chose to rebel against our Maker and trust ourselves above Him. Referred to as Creation and The Fall, it’s all detailed in the first three chapters of the story.
The solution? God actually gives it to Jeremiah before He even describes this problem:
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.”
I want to be like a healthy tree—an incredibly sturdy and beautiful perennial plant—drought-resistant and always producing fruit! So, my mid-life, more mature prayer is, “LORD, help me trust in you and MAKE me humble.”
When I’m feeling particularly bold and adventurous, I pray: “LORD, help me trust in you and HUMBLE me.”
THIS, truly should be the common refrain, for I know my propensity toward pridefulness.
When my prayer is answered, and I am humble or humbled, there is a much greater possibility that I will be kind.
Think of the kindest person you know. She is humble. Remember the last time you were shown kindness. He is humble. Kindness is based on humility—giving without expecting anything in return. Kindness without humility is false, based on pretense, the giver expecting something in return.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending the day in a room full of 300 kind people. I was at a regional training for pregnancy centers* of Southeast Michigan. Three outstanding speakers shared excellent, evidence-based tools for promoting and protecting humans.
A physician shared how to help women who begin a medical abortion (RU486 pill) but then regret it and want to reverse it. Learn more HERE.
A nurse shared about fertility and the teleology of human sexuality—the difference between the genitocentric view and cerebrocentric view. More HERE.
A lawyer who is an FBI agent shared about human trafficking and his work at SEMTEC, the Southeast Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crimes Task Force. He shared this compelling video of a teenager telling how she was coerced into prostitution and eventually escaped.
Interested in more detail? Let's meet up for coffee—my treat—this Wednesday, March 27, at Panera Bread in Waterford, from 7 - 9 p.m. I’ll bring copies of the conference notes in case you'd like them.
DO YOU KNOW?
*There are a total of 158 pregnancy care centers, post abortive counselors and adoption service agencies in the state of Michigan, all staffed by kind professionals trained in their specific area of expertise. Find one near you HERE.
The movie “UNPLANNED” opens in theaters everywhere this Friday, March 29. It's the inspiring true story of one woman’s journey of transformation. She saw something that changed her life. Don’t miss it!