You rescue the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
2 Samuel 22:28
After God has delivered his opinion on haughtiness, it is amazing how many of his followers vie with each other to be the haughtiest.
Christians have split up into countless denominations and every one of them believes the same thing: we’re righter than anyone else about doctrine, and we feel pretty smug about it. When was the last time you heard a denomination admit: “We want to follow Jesus, but, frankly, we’re not sure our doctrine is perfect”?
Don’t get me wrong: it’s important to be right about stuff. But it’s even more important to be humble. None of us knows God so well that we have eliminated all the fuzziness in our understanding of him.
Yet, how often do we admit that we’ve bumped up against Bible passages that don’t want to agree with our present understanding? We Christians – and especially we Bible teachers – are not eager to talk about the many passages in Scripture that still have us puzzled.
In September of 1864, London’s Soho district was ravaged by a cholera epidemic. 143 residents in the Broad Street area died within a single day.
Dr. John Snow believed the cholera outbreak was caused by contaminated water from the public Broad Street pump. But everyone else – including the Medical Committee and a local curate, Rev. Henry Whitehead, believed Snow was wrong.
Dr. Snow wrote up his observations, On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, but Whitehead and the Medical Committee overseeing the epidemic disagreed with his conclusions. In opposition to Dr. Snow, Whitehead wrote an opposing account, The Cholera in Berwick Street.
In an effort to prove Snow wrong, Rev. Whitehead began a personal investigation. He went door to door – asking residents about sanitation and their use of the Broad Street water pump.
When he finished his investigation he realized his data supported Dr. Snow’s position. Whitehead did what few have the humility to do: he publicly renounced his former position and urged the Medical Committee to listen to Snow.
We now know that Snow’s view about cholera has been validated. But for a decade after Snow presented his evidence, the medical community continued to call his position unsound. Whitehead, alone, was humble enough to admit that his original opposition to Snow had been wrong.
If you want to feel superior to others, don’t gloat that you’re the “rightest”; strive to be the humblest. Then you can take pride in being . . . hey, wait a minute – I think I just goofed up somewhere.
(text copyright 2013 by Marty Kaarre)