One of the many wise things that my counsellor, Derrick, said to me was, “You can humble yourself, or you can let God humble you. The first one is less painful.”
How do you humble yourself? Well, that’ll be between you and God, but it will require some decent soul-searching and some brutal honesty, I can tell you that.
Pride takes many forms, but one I know is the iron grip that says, “I will work my hardest at controlling how others, even God, see me. I will not admit anything that weakens my bargaining position. I will gladly speak generally about my failings and mistakes, but I will never be specific, not even to The One Who Already Knows.”
If you know the name of your sin, but don’t even have the humility to whisper it into God’s ear then you’re in a lot of trouble indeed. Not all pride is about drawing attention your way. There’s a quiet pride that can’t bring itself to confess, and it’s a bigger killer than all those loud egotistical things that are so easy to identify and condemn.
In 1 Kings 21 we read about how Ahab, one of the worst kings in Israel’s history, finds the threatened judgement postponed because he humbled himself. That’s exactly what God noticed – that he humbled himself. He didn’t wait for God to do it; he took responsibility for it himself. Never underestimate how willing God is to bless those who name their crimes, not just wanting to be forgiven, but wanting to be better.
Being humbled because of our sin is inevitable. It’s better that we humble ourselves than wait for God to do it. A quick “Sorry, God!” may be enough to find forgiveness, but it may not be enough to find freedom.