“Here we go again” is probably what most Buckeye fans felt Saturday afternoon after the men’s basketball team squandered not only a 15-point lead in the second half and the #1 ranking, but a perfect season by losing to Wisconsin. Much like what happened to the football squad in October. I’m sure the range of emotions varied from the casual fan’s response of, “Oh well, one loss doesn’t make a season,” to the true “royal rooter” whose response may have involved throwing an inanimate object at the television and cursing the same university that lost the chance for a BCS title.
So…what does this have to do with being humble? As Christians, we strive for perfection in our spiritual lives. But if Christ-like perfection is our ultimate goal, our sins and missteps can help us grow in the long run by making us more humble.
Like the Buckeyes, until we lose or fall from grace we don’t realize we’re not as great as we thought. The next time you feel you are being humble, are you really being honest with yourself? If you’ve ever said, “I’d do it for anyone,” or “Just happy to help,” have you found yourself brimming with pride about how humble you are? I’ve been there, and let me tell you, it’s no fun to be stung by the “humblebee.”
True humility draws the attention of God. In Isaiah 66:2, God states, “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (NASB). James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 explicitly state that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (NASB). How does one become humble, you ask? By accepting God’s grace through Christ’s victory on the cross and relinquishing our quest to be perfect by our own efforts.
In his book Humility: True Greatness, C.J. Mahaney said that humility is defined as “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” When we fail, though we try not to, we have an opportunity to make the “honest assessment” of ourselves that Mahaney speaks about.
Given what happened on Saturday, both players and coaches will have to determine just how good a team they are by examining mistakes, reviewing non-execution of plays, and considering whether they overestimated their own skills and attitudes. When we’re proud, we feel invincible, flawless, and nonchalant. But when we stumble and fall, that’s when the door of opportunity opens to true humility. That’s when, as Christians, we can look to God’s Word, humble ourselves, and give Him all the honor and glory He deserves. Jared Sullinger summed it up well, “We needed a good ol’ slice of humble pie.” Don’t we all!
— Kevin E. Davis