Humility is often thought of as being modest or a little bit inferior to another. In reality, humility is really a spirit of deference. It is the respectful and courteous regard of others in our lives - the willingness to take back seat or to play second fiddle, so to speak. In another essence, it is the condition of no longer pretending - being real. A truly humble person is not afraid to be themselves. Our writer doesn't say "humility" - he says "true humility". This suggests to me there is a form of humility which is not genuine. It is the type of humility that "pretends" to be submissive to the will of another, but really there is a little resistance going on. It is like the age-old adage of sitting down on the outside, but standing up on the inside!
True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life. (Proverbs 22:4 NLT)
I think there are a lot of ways we "don't" show our humility. Probably one of the most evident is when we say we know everything there is to know about a certain circumstance in our lives. We actually shut the door on growth whenever we are so determined to maintain the "pretense" of knowing it all. There is a danger in being a know-it-all kind of person - it is in never learning from our mistakes! We allow history to continue repeat itself whenever we are unwilling or unable to accept direction in the failure. The only thing which keeps us from accepting it - thinking we can handle it ourselves or that we know exactly how to "fix" the problem. Correction requires more than common sense sometimes! Not everything we learn comes through common sense - sometimes it comes because we get still long enough to realize we don't actually know it all!
In truth, humility identifies with someone other than yourself. As long as my viewpoint is turned inwardly, I cannot see what others see, nor can I learn from what they have learned. Learning to identify with other people - truly connecting with them at the heart, mind and spirit levels - opens the door for us to learn their lessons. I don't know about you, but if I can save a little hardship in my own life by learning from it in yours, I am all for that! Some of us are always looking for others who are exactly at our same level of maturity, spiritually / emotionally / or intellectually. You know, I learned the most from those who had already mastered the skills! I also learned quicker when I had the opportunity to help another walk through where I had already walked! We need to connect with each other in order to grow.
The opposite of humility is a condition we could label as arrogance. It is the condition of feeling and acting superior to another. It may be because we dress better, drive a better car, don't have the same issues in life, etc. Regardless of the reason for the sense of "superiority", the arrogant man or woman actually alienates others rather than drawing them closer. Our writer reminds us it is the humble who receive honor - not the arrogant. The arrogant may "feel special", but the true honor goes to the humble. If everything in life is done as a matter of "showing" oneself as superior to another, it will be a miserable existence. Humble people are not afraid to help another get the honor! When humility is the course of your life, you actually look for opportunities for another to be successful!
One of the hardest things to do is admit your inability. Humble people don't fret it! They are honest to the core - knowing the only way to find help is to admit you actually need it! Arrogant people won't share these inabilities because there is a pretense which must be maintained. When we are willing to let go of the pretense, we actually open the door for the help we so desperately need. Failure is a part of life - get over it! You cannot go through life masking your failure - in time, it will become evident - you can only bury it for so long.
Scripture reminds us God actually "opposes" the proud, but gives grace to the humble. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be on the side of the field where I look across and see God as my opposition! It is hard to let go of needing to "be right" all the time, but it is when we do that we finally realize we begin to gain the wisdom we so desperately require in order to move beyond our failures. Just sayin!