Love is… Humble, part 2

If someone walked miles. On dusty roads. In sandals. How would you feel about kneeling to wash his feet?

relaxing flipflops

If someone you respected. More than any other. The wisest. The person who is everything-you-want-to-be. Your favorite teacher or pastor, perhaps. Knelt before you at the end of a long, hot, sweaty day and wanted to wash your feet. How would you feel?

I’ve always been embarrassed of my feet, so I know my first thought would not be about the beauty of the gesture. It would be about the ugliness of my feet.

And what if they STINK?!?

favorite sneaker

I would be mortified…


My focus would be myself.

Peter had a similar reaction when Jesus knelt to wash his feet. Such a job was beneath his Teacher, his Lord.

1 Corinthians 13

The Greek word translated arrogant, or proud, is phusioo: “to inflate.”

So, it seems to me that love does not inflate – make proud, might be as valid a translation as love is not inflated – proud. Just a thought. I lack the scholarship to know if this is sound. Anybody?

Regardless, no matter how you slice it, in love, there is no room for pride.

The loving response, the humble response, is saying, “Thank you,” and removing my shoes.


But we don’t want to do things that might embarrass us, or make us look bad. We don’t want others to see our dirt. Or smell our stink.

We don’t want to risk rejection.

We’re afraid. Problem is…

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear… 1 John 4:18

It’s so difficult to recognize the pride in fear, in feeling inadequate, in refusing offers of fellowship or help.

I’d resist like Peter. But my focus would be more on myself than on Jesus. Peter said to Him,

“Lord, do You wash my feet?”
“Never shall You wash my feet!”      from John 13:6&8

I think my feet are ugly… God made them. Sometimes they stink… it’s part of being human, finite.

My sins are ugly, Lord, let me clean myself up before I come to Youdirty feetWhen Peter realized letting Jesus cleanse him was necessary, he became eager. So eager, he asked for more.

Again, pride. What God gives is always adequate.

Truth is, loss is part of life. There will always be someone with more. There will always be another must-have on the market, a new model. Good health is not guaranteed, and healing does not always come.

In this life we will suffer.

And we don’t get to choose our blessings.

But we can choose our focus.

Chambers cross

Will you choose pride and look at yourself or will you choose love and look to the Father?

Do you choose His glory or yours?

As difficult as it can be to believe, choosing His glory will always be for our good, regardless of how it feels in process.

Decide who should get the glory in your life before you ask God for “more” or “better.”

God’s gifts are always good, but their packages aren’t always what we’d choose. It’s tragic when we miss out on the gift because we dislike, or resent, or hate the package.

It’s also tragic when we miss a gift because we’re distracted by its shiny package.

We often get “puffed up” over what we have, what we think of as OURS – possessions, talents, skills, attractive significant others…

That’s the pride that’s easier for us to accept as pride, and to identify… at least in others. The pride that doesn’t want to kneel and wash feet. The pride that thinks it’s too good for… you fill-in-the-blank…

I think when we’re willing to look at ourselves honestly, we all struggle with both types of pride. The pride that thinks something is beneath it, and the pride that feels unworthy. The pride that “inflates,” and the pride that denies our worth.

Either way, we’re seeing, or at least portraying, ourselves inaccurately.

Joel shadow

I know I’ve experienced both this week… Really it’s an ongoing struggle as I blog, and in the rest of life. I love positive comments. I love knowing people are reading my words and my words mean something to them. And I love when people see me in a good light when I share my bad stuff.

Who doesn’t like to feel liked?!?

I love it. And I struggle with it. And I hate it.

I’m still learning to gracefully accept compliments. I get puffed up and feel unworthy.

I struggle with the part of me that still craves affirmation, that wants to enamor. When blog posts, or status updates, get no response, I feel deflated. And know that others’ opinions are still too important to me. On the other hand, I rarely receive a compliment without a sinking feeling. It’s like my head and half of my heart swell, while my stomach and the other half of my heart drop.

I hate that if you pay me a compliment, I hear an expectation. That I don’t meet, can’t meet. If you get too close, I’ll let you down. So I’d rather let you go.

There it is again. That pride that masquerades as humility, but isn’t humble at all. It’s just another way of making it all about me.

I’ve settled who should get the glory in my life, but that doesn’t mean I walk it out without stumbling.

But, see? You’re not the only one who struggles with what others think.

Joel Nora sidewalk

Humility is NOT thinking you’re not good enough, it’s seeing yourself accurately and being who you were created to be.

So the antidote to thinking too much about ourselves, is love.

What is one practical way that you can demonstrate love that is not arrogant, proud?

Is there someone whose feet you need to wash? Maybe someone you need to let wash yours?


4 thoughts on “Love is… Humble, part 2

  1. Thanks for sharing this…could relate to a lot of it. Re: ‘love is not inflated – proud’…fairly certain that this fits with something that St.Francis of Assisi said: ‘pride is the enemy of grace’. (Paraphrased). Also one thing that helps keep me grounded is a saying which I believe the Lord impressed upon me during a retreat once…”Son, aim to bless, rather than impress”. I am still processing what, and how I apply it.

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