Sunday, October 29, 2006

You Might Not Be Humble If...

Time for a new series. This one should be fun and mildly enlightening, I hope.

I often think about what a secular documentary of a Christian church would look like. I think to myself a fair amount about the hypocritical tendencies the crew might pick up. One of the easiest spots of hypocrisy to spot, I think, would be false humility. There are many in the church who are good at projecting humility without inhabiting it. Able to smile, quick with the charm, versed in the cliches, it can be easy to pretend to be humble, modest, and concerned with others when in fact our smiles are like our suits: external trappings that hide our true selves.

That might sound a bit over the top, and it could be. But it also can be true. One of the ways this particular hypocritical attitude shows itself is when Christians compliment themselves in their personal testimonies. Have you ever noticed this? I have, and I'm guessing my fictional secular documentary group would expose it so quick they'd ruin their film. You see, Christians are supposed to be humble. That means we're not supposed to talk about ourselves and make ourselves look good in conversation. Right. We know that. And a good amount of the time, we stick by it. But when we're not truly humble, when our hearts aren't truly made over in this area, sin and sinful arrogance will poke through the exterior. We'll indulge our desire to make ourselves look good by speaking at length of our sinful past, dropping not-so-subtle hints that we were once pretty spectacular but now are altogether submitted to ordinariness, which we are oh-so-happy to live out. In fact, the opposite is true.

You must know what I'm talking about, if you've been in Christian circles for any lengthy amount of time. Here's what False Personal Testimony Humility sounds like: "Before the Lord rescued me, I was living a crazy life. I was dating incredibly beautiful women, all of whom were rated 10s by my best friends (and they themselves did pretty well in the woman department), and I was wildly successful in my work, living the high life, getting promotions right and left, and school was just so easy and I totally sinfully blew it off, and I was also pursuing sports with idolatrous desires. That was made so much tougher by me being selected to four straight all-conference teams. I just couldn't handle the accolades, and so I started partying, and I was the wildest, craziest party boy you ever saw. Then I got saved. Man, it all changed from there."

That was exhibit A of the False Personal Testimony Humility. If anything in there resonated, congratulations. You too have suffered unjustly from False Humility syndrome, a disease attacking attention-starved Christians all around you. Tomorrow, we'll examine another variation of this disease, entitled False Providential Blessing Humility.


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