Continuation of What Does it Mean to Be a Christian?

 

Humility.  Finally, a note on perhaps the most difficult virtue: humility.  Many Christians I know seem ridden with guilt..  I believe that this arises from a misunderstanding of how relationship with God is established.  We are taught that we must repent to meet God.  So, in a spectacle that resembles spiritual bulimia, some people fall into a cycle of sinning and repentance.  They hope to establish a relationship with God by annoying Him and then seeking reconciliation.  This, they confuse with humility.

 

I would propose something very different.  Humility is the natural result of knowing ourselves.  It is experienced as a sense of wry amusement.  Over the course of my life, I have known a number of self-made millionaires, several Nobel laureates and even a few saints.  Being none of the above, I still value and even like myself— but I also know where I stand in the grand order of things.  As age strips me of capacities that I formerly valued, that standing shrinks until, after my death, I will be forgotten by every living human being.  And yet, as I hope this site may prove, my life may not be entirely useless since, while I am alive, I can at least praise God. 

 

The best sign that you are really on the right road is that you begin to enjoy setting aside vices.  Smoking, overeating, binge drinking, bursts of anger, short-term sexual relationships— as the relationship with God deepens, you will increasingly set these aside.  God values you and likes you— to the point of loving you even when you do things that are wrong.  If you want to reciprocate, start by accepting that you are worthy of that love.  

 

And then, go and do likewise. 

 

 

 

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