This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not resi but exercise. We Are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. / All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified. Martin Luther | Humility, surrender, perfection and other impossible” things)
It has always amused and confused me that in the Pentateuch, Moses writes that he is the most humble person on earth. Really? How can such an admission come in such a bold way?
Then when I have had the pleasure of meeting both scientists and theologians who are on the cutting edge of their respective studies, I realized that the humility they had was due in part to the realization that they would never know it all and with that came the reality that the more they learned the less they really knew.
It is kind of like Socrates. In his day, he made the statement that he was the wisest of the . Athenians which shocked everyone because he was a very humble man. So they asked Socrates what he meant. And he said something like this, “Well there are a great many of the Athenians who think they know, and I know I do not know. And since I know that I do not know, I am the wisest of the Athenians.”
I have discovered that some Christians act like they have not only found God, but also found all the truth that can be revealed. They have arrived." I do not judge such an attitude because if honest, I have been there before.
It is like the humorous saying that God created us in His image and ever since we have been returning the compliment. So even if I cloak it in religious language I can make God into my image---my understanding and my desires. We risk making Him comfortable for us.
In the timeless words of Dorothy Sayers: "The people who crucified Jesus never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him "meek and mild," and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.
The greatest of all Pharisees, Saul of Tarsus, had to literally be knocked off his smug, self righteous horse to see the light, and sometimes such an event is necessary in our lives. I would have even described myself as gracious and non-judgmental, but in reality I probably was not. Humility too, would have been a label I would have inappropriately taken. Since I had a "perfect family, church, marriage and relationship with God, I didn't mean to look down my nose at others but... I had a prescriptive theology; one in which you could have a "perfect” marriage and family if you followed certain protocol and directives. It usually meant buying a DVD, or a book to fully unpack what needed to be professionally explicated from the Scripture, Since this had "worked” for me, I could be quite comfortable recommending such “prescriptions” to others from a pedestal I did not even realize that I was sitting on.
Then one day the pedestal came crashing down. My "perfecť everything was radically shaken, when I learned that my oldest son was gay. It took me so off guard, that for the first time and a very brief time, I was suicidal. Why? Not so much that this rocked my very little world, but rather that I did not even realize that he was gay. And realizing that I had said such mean things against those who were “outside,” or “different than my tightly woven group and thinking, that I had so religiously adhered to. What got me most is that I could be so blind to who he was— since birth -namely because it did not "fit” my prescribed notion for normal or right. My wife and I have been gracious and loving to him and have forgiven ourselves for such narrowness.
I would have to say that such an event in our lives has been perhaps the best thing that ever happened to us. Our son was patient and gracious with us for our blindness and misunderstanding of what it means to truly love unconditionally. We were not judgmental of him, but most importantly this helped us come to truly know a gracious and loving God. We realized that if God operated on the same standards that we had before, it would make it impossible for any one of us to know Him or come to Him.
The only one who is truly perfect humbled Himself and took on the form of a loving servant, with towel and basin, to counter all of our notions of strength and power. The only One who is perfect, spent most of His time with those, who by the religious elite, would have been considered unclean at best and a waste of His time at most, to show that none of us are truly either worthy of or outside of His love.
The only one who is qualified to take the title Perfect took on Himself all the world's imperfections, in order that we might not sit on a pedestal or high horse and that we too might take up a towel, a basin and a cross, and die to our Edenic desire to know all and to take His title as God.
He has radically changed my notion of perfect, knowing, in all true humility, that this side of heaven we will never "arrive." Thank God that His understanding of perfection is one that involves complete surrender and humility and only then are we able to truly love, It is so easy to follow from behind, and to love and adore a God like this.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.