Years ago, G.K. Chesterton observed that humility was becoming misplaced. He wrote, “What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place…A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.” Humility no longer pertains to self-opinion, where it ought to be. Rather, it now pertained to truth, where it ought not to be.
An arrogant person used to be a person who had an overly high view of himself or herself. They might brag about their accomplishments. They might refuse to acknowledge their own faults or weaknesses. They might treat other people poorly and with a lack of respect and civility. But we have come to a place in our culture where if you speak confidently about truth, you are accused of being arrogant. If you believe that a certain behavior is morally wrong because of what the Bible teaches, you are a bigot.
This puts believers in a bit of a pickle. Even the act of sharing one’s faith is viewed as inherently intrusive and presumptuous. The culture would have us think that a humble person should just mind their own business.
I would suggest to you that believers should be humble—and bold. We should not think of ourselves too highly. We ought to be quick to confess our sins and struggles. We ought to speak often of our unworthiness and God’s great grace. But we should be bold when it comes to truth. We should not apologize or mumble when we share the message of the gospel.
The tension is captured well when we think about the nature of the kingdom. We are servants of the High King. We don’t have any great rank. We are not able to claim a higher standing than others. So we are humble when it comes to our person. But we have been commissioned to deliver the King’s message. And when we go out with the King’s authority and his message, we proclaim it with boldness. We dare not remain silent. So we are bold when it comes to our message.
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