11 September 2012

False Humility

Haley writes about a disgusting habit of nominally Christian males:

I know that it’s en vogue in Christian circles to constantly second-guess yourself and keep knocking yourself down with “I’M NOT WORTHY!” reminders, and blah blah blah pride conceit vanity blah, but women yearn for men who have thrown off timidity and have stepped out of their hobbit holes to venture beyond the Shire.  You can be humble and still embrace your God-given talents, gifts, and intellect, and have confidence in those abilities that you can give a woman a happy life.  Why did God give you any of these blessings in the first place if He intended you to second-guess Him and His design for your life?

This, incidentally, reminds me of a sermon about King Saul by the esteemed theologian G. Campbell Morgan (first referenced at LCG here), in which Morgan noted that this belittling of oneself is false modesty:

The first manifestation came very early; soon after his anointing. When they sought him on that subsequent day of popular election which was to ratify the Divine election, he was hiding away; and in that hiding away there is the first manifestation of weakness, the first evidence of folly. I am going to say to you quite frankly that I know a great many will join issue with me here. I have heard it declared by men for whom I have the profoundest respect, that the hiding away was a new demonstration of his modesty, but I ask you to remember that there is a modesty which is wholly evil. If God has called a man to kingship, he has no right to hide away. If God has called a man definitely, anointed him, equipped him to take charge of the Empire, if that man out of any sense of modesty shall hide away and try to escape the responsibility, therein is the first evidence of his weakness. So it was with Saul. [Emphasis added.]

Contrast this attitude with the greatest Patriarch of Faith—Abraham—of whom it was said:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. [Emphasis added.]

Notice what Abraham didn’t do.  He did not beat himself up.  He didn’t engage in self-deprecation.  He didn’t doubt God’s promise, nor did he doubt his own worthiness of receiving God’s blessing.  He simply accepted what God had to say and obeyed.  He didn’t try to second-guess God, and he didn’t preoccupy himself with whether God had selected the right man.  He simply obeyed, without reservation, without question, and without doubting.

Incidentally, Abraham is referred to as the father of the faithful.  It is in his seed that all the nations of the earth blessed.  Abraham truly was a man of faith.  He didn’t doubt God’s blessings, but rather used them to carry out God’s will.

Christ also echoes this theme in the parable of the talents.  Recall that the master, in the story, gave one of his servants five talents, another servant two talents, and the last servant one talent.  The first two servants doubled their respective talents, but the third servant buried his talent in the ground.  Note what the master said to the servant who buried his one talent:

But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.   So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

And what was the reason the third servant gave for wasting his talent?  He was afraid.

The same mindset found in Saul and apparently in today’s Christian relationship bloggers is that false humility, borne of cowardice.  Saul was afraid to be king; likewise, today’s men are afraid to be leaders.  And so they decry their leadership and claim to be unworthy of it, in spite of the fact that none other than the Lord of Hosts himself has declared them worthy of such a position of authority.  Sadly those who are afraid of what God has declared them worthy to have end up wasting his blessings and earning God’s wrath.  As Saul wasted his kingship, and as the servant wasted his talent, so too do many men today waste their leadership in the home.  And they, like Saul and the unprofitable servant, will face God’s wrath in that final day of reckoning.

Fortunately, there is some hope for those who suffer from false modesty.  False modesty is not a terminal spiritual illness; it can be overcome.  To those Christian men who feel the constant need to second-guess God’s blessings, I have two suggestions:

First, examine your life for pride.  Consider how self-centered and narcissistic it is to be so focused on yourself and how you relate to everyone else.  Odds are, you aren’t all that important. And while you are given a position of leadership, and are given the blessing of a wife, this doesn’t make you unique. There are, and have been, a remarkably large number of married men.  They all have a position of leadership, just like you, and they all have been blessed with a wife, just like you. You are not a snowflake and you ought not to be self-absorbed as to think that your marriage is the most important thing ever.  Also, consider how insulting it is to say that God’s decision to bless you with a wife, and the implicit role of leadership that marriage brings, was wrong.  It’s one thing to second-guess your boss at work; it’s quite another thing to second-guess the being that created the universe.  Anyhow, if you do find pride, cast it out.

Second, submit to Christ.  This is subordinate to casting out pride, for it is pride that prevents you from submitting to Christ in the first place.  Recall what Paul said:  “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”  Know your place in the hierarchy.  If you, the man, were the end-all, be-all of your relationship with your wife, then it would be understandable why you wouldn’t trust yourself with a position of authority.  You’re a human; you will sin and you will make mistakes.  Here’s the thing, though:  you are not, in fact, the end-all and be-all of your relationship with your wife.  You’re not actually the end-all, be-all of any relationship.  Christ is your head, and you must submit to him and his leadership.  When you assume the final reins of leadership for yourself, you make yourself to be God and, because you are but a mere mortal, you will fail.  But if you understand your place in the hierarchy, then you can be confident in your leadership because you understand its limits.

At any rate, there is really no reason for men to constantly doubt or even deny the role that God has given them within the realm of marriage.  If God has deemed you to be worthy of the position of husband, then accept it in submission to Christ.  And stop beating yourself up already.  It is rather annoying.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. "Second, submit to Christ. This is subordinate to casting out pride, for it is pride that prevents you from submitting to Christ in the first place."

    Several people have asked or accused me of spending too much time bashing Game and Players. Your quote sums up my reasoning.

  3. @Cane Caldo- Ultimately, though, the problem that Players face is that the god to which they submit is sexual dynamics. Everything they do is done to use sexual dynamics to their benefit. The only thing wrong with this, though, is that elevate the sexual dynamics of human interaction above the being that created the sexual dynamics of human interaction. There is no need to bash them, though. Much good can come of their evil, for starters. Additionally, pity is likely the more appropriate response.

  4. That was not a confession that I bash players, but a statement that I get accused of it anyway. Having taken pains to attack the preaching: I hate the Game, not the player.

    What good can come of evil? Has the strong man been tied up, and His house robbed?

    Pity is appropriate, unless they are leading sheep astray.

  5. @Cane Caldo- Understand, though, that there is a sense in which Game is subordinate, and therefore a legitimate subset of Christianity. God designed the dynamics of human sexuality in a very specific way and he expects Man to use those dynamics wisely (e.g. the rules governing marriage). In order to do use the dynamics of human sexuality wisely, one must first understand them, which is the value of Game.

    There is plenty of good that can come of evil. One example that comes to mind is how God prompted the Jews to repent of their rebellion by allowing them to be conquered by evil nations. Throughout history, this has often been God's M.O. Indeed, Christians would not have salvation had not a corrupt man sold his Lord for thirty pieces of silver, only for his Lord to face a sham of a trial put on by corrupt men who then had him put to death by professional murderers. So you see, there is plenty of good that come of evil.