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Posts tagged ‘Humility’

One Year Later, Pope Remains a Mystery.


Image: One Year Later, Pope Remains a Mystery

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 10:01 AM

By Robert Royal

This week marks the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. It’s one of the great paradoxes of his papacy that this man, hailed from the first for his simplicity and humility, has generated more puzzlement than any pope in modern memory.

Quite apart from the usual media ineptness, which almost always reads religious questions in crude terms of left and right, in some ways that’s no surprise. Simplicity is never as simple as it looks. In fact, simplicity is so rare that it’s hard to follow for most of us, whose heads typically buzz with half-formed theories and distorting pre-conceptions. And that’s when we’re even trying to pay attention. It takes real work to get to clarity or simplicity – about anything.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

I was in St. Peter’s Square last year when Francis stepped out on the balcony. His first words as pope, “Buona sera,” marked him out as strongly as John Paul II’s famous “Be not afraid!” in the same situation. When he bowed and asked the crowd to pray for him – often misreported as asking for “the blessing” of the people – his image in the media, rightly or wrongly, was settled: a humble man, trying to reform the Church, eliminate harsh rules, and welcome the whole world.

Subsequent interviews, of course, have raised questions about just how his whole vision fits together. Whatever the answer to those questions – and they cannot simply be wished away, as some would like – it’s not “simple.”

He’s repeatedly said he’s a “man of the Church” and, of course, believes all that the Church teaches. But we’ve also had the unfortunate static introduced by stray remarks such as: “Who am I to judge?” about gays; last week’s “civil unions” comment; mounting pressure in the Vatican itself, it appears, to change teaching about divorced and remarried people being able to receive Communion. His real positions are more nuanced and different than the wishful thanking of many reporters and dissenters, and attract wide attention because of the pope’s palpable spontaneity and infectious charisma. Still, they’re not always easy to parse out.

Just this week, a clever article appeared comparing the pope’s American and practical bent to the pragmatism of William James and Charles Saunders Pierce, contemporary philosophers Alasdair MacIntyre and Slavoj Zizek, and other anti-theoretical theorists. I don’t know if that’s the case – no one can. And it’s more than a little odd to invoke these heavyweights to explain Jorge Bergoglio. But if true, it would mean that the pope resembles President Obama when he claims that he’s “not very ideological” and is only interested in “what works.” There’s a lot of complex theory packed into that seemingly simple goal.

For instance, he’s miles beyond movements like the old Liberation Theology with its limping Marxist praxis. Some American conservatives claimed, absurdly, that Francis is a Marxist merely for saying the global economic system must be re-ordered to help the poor and marginalized.

We should give the pope – and Karl Marx – a little more credit than that. Marxism offered itself as “scientific” socialism that would inevitably replace false economic and political systems. An engineer who built a bridge on a “science” that failed so spectacularly would be in jail.

Francis is nobody’s fool and quite aware of all that. Like all modern popes, he knows that he doesn’t know how to get to where he’d like us to be. That’s a job for others – he’s merely pointing the way. Besides, as we see every day, no one is really in charge of the global economy or the international political order. We muddle around trying to respond to economic crises, smooth out regional conflicts, and give some semblance of international law to the world. But the world is fallen, as are we ourselves. Maybe that’s why Francis’ description of the Church as a kind of “field hospital” during a battle made such an impression.

The world likes him to talk about politics and justice – and who, by the way, is against improvements in either realm? Talking about poverty and inclusion, which John Paul II and Benedict XVI did as well (but received little credit for), helps the journalistic narrative that the pope wants to turn away from neuralgic sexual and life issues.

But Francis has also often denounced the throwaway culture that thinks children in the womb are disposable. And he’s even called Pope Paul VI “prophetic” for holding onto the ancient Christian teaching on contraception, not that long ago the common understanding in all Christian churches. You didn’t hear about that? Maybe you should send a letter to the editor. But don’t get your hopes up.

Still, to be frank, it didn’t help when, early in his papacy, Francis spoke of Catholics not always “insisting” and “obsessing” about abortion and similar questions – perhaps a beginner’s stumble. More recently, he’s said to interviewers that he wishes to be careful because his every word is scrutinized and, he fears, sometimes misunderstood.

So, at least for now, we are left with an enigma. We have a remarkable pope, a man who has an uncanny ability to reach out and electrify the whole world with an uncommon touch. John Paul II did the same, though in a more public, less personal way. We also have a pope with a deep appreciation of our moment, and therefore is not reluctant to put his name to Lumen fidei, the brilliant analysis of the state of things, largely written by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, with whom – pace the troublemakers in the media – he has warm relations.

And yet, after this first year, we remain puzzled about how, exactly, all these different parts of him fit together. The workings of the Holy Spirit are often a mystery. And that, for the time being, may be the best answer, while we follow this singular shepherd, to all our queries.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is ”The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West,” now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

10 Ways to Teach Your Children Humility.


Father and Daughter
(Imagery Majestic/Free Digital Photos)

Humility, dictionary definitions say, is marked by modesty, meekness, diffidence and an unassuming attitude. Dictionaries also contrast humility with arrogance and pride.

Yet we live in a culture where pride is celebrated and arrogance is almost a prerequisite to be taken seriously in business, politics and sports. Ideas such as “Nice guys finish last” are touted as “No duh!” truth.

Well, listen up! If we think humility is only for wimps and losers, then we really don’t know what the word means. Humility can only come from those who actually have something about which to be humble. The humble are those who could crow but choose to keep their beaks shut.

Humility is also a close associate of gratitude, and it’s an attribute that simply oozes class. Here are 10 ways to teach humility to your kids and (maybe) ramp it up a bit in your own life:

1. Modeling. Never underestimate the power of teaching through example. Humility must be consistently modeled as a lifestyle, not an on-again, off-again example.

2. Build them up. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s important to understand that humility always comes from a position of belief, strength and self-assurance.

3. Encourage and help them to be the very best they can be—no matter what they do. Humility works best when your child has actually achieved something. Help your child achieve with confidence.

4. Make sure they understand where their real value comes from. It’s easier to sidestep pride or arrogance when children understand they are valued simply because they are your child, not because they win the race, have a prettier mom (and a smarter dad!), earn a higher income or score the most points.

5. Never humiliate your kids. Humility cannot be imposed. It’s important not to confuse humiliation, bullying and beating down with an education in humility.

6. Expose your child to the great teachers and their stories. Jesus, Mother Teresa and Eric Liddell are all wonderful role models.  or Jesus, there are lots of great children’s books about Him, as well as about Mother Teresa. Eric Liddell is the man who inspired the movie Chariots of Fire, a great film for your whole family.

7. Teach them to serve.

  • Serve the homeless.
  • Serve the poor.
  • Serve their family.
  • Serve one another.

8. Coach them on how to respond. Kids need to be taught to say “Please” and “Thank you” as much as they need to be taught to brush their teeth and to stay out of the street. So why expect them to know humility without guidance? Here’s an example: “Look, Jr., that’s a great job you did on your science fair project. You deserved to win the prize. Now, this is how you handle it in class tomorrow … let’s practice saying:

  • ‘Thanks!’
  • ‘I like the way my friend, Matt, did his project, too.’
  • ‘I don’t think I could have won without the help of my teacher.’”

You get the idea.

9. Teach them how to apologize. The well-timed and sincere apology is a key component of humility. Sometimes they’re wrong; they need to acknowledge that. Sometimes they over-reach and it’s time to back up. Sometimes they receive unintentional consequences they need to smooth over.

10. Teach them to give thanks. A genuinely grateful heart is a key building block for humility. Gratitude, practiced and eventually owned, enhances humility at every turn. The person saying “Thank you” affects a posture that is unassuming and modest. Try this: Every time someone offers a compliment, simply say, “Thank you.” It’s the kind of response that eventually soaks in, grows roots and blooms humility.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

All Pro Dad is Family First’s innovative and unique program for every father. Their aim is to interlock the hearts of the fathers with their children and, as a byproduct, the hearts of the children with their dads. AtAllProDad.com, dads in any stage of fatherhood can find helpful resources to aid in their parenting. Resources include daily emails, blogs, Top 10 lists, articles, printable tools, videos and eBooks. FromAllProDad.com, fathers can join the highly engaged All Pro Dad social media communities onFacebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Characteristics of Humble People.


by Frank Damazio

A life that honors God honors the principle called humility.Humility is an attitude of being gentle, considerate, kind, and gracious, putting others in front of self. The process of humility begins when you realize that everything is not about you. People who honor humility don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.

The Bible shows us several examples of humble people, one of those being Moses. Moses described himself as the one who most fully exemplified humility. He did not say that about himself out of pride or arrogance, but out of gratitude to God for the various trials he underwent in order to develop the high level of character he had.

Here are three characteristics of a humble person that can be observed in Moses’ life.

1. Nurtures a broken spirit

To the natural mind, that which is broken is unfit for use and should be thrown away; but to God, brokenness is of high value. A broken spirit quickly recognizes conscience violations as a result of a clear, soft conscience. It quickly discerns what is amiss, like a broken bone out of joint, and quickly makes an adjustment.

A broken spirit is pliable and able to be fashioned. On the other hand, a hard heart is not impressionable – you cannot work on it. A broken heart is soft and easily penetrated. A broken spirit is in a person who is submitted to God, obedient with joy, easily bent to humility, and not reactionary.

2. Receives second chances

Have you ever made a mistake? We are all failures – well, at least all the best of us! People fear failure and think failure is a stigma, that it is final. But it’s not. Failure is the school for humility. It sets up a second chance.

The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake.

3. Does not react to criticism, accusations, or slander

Moses was reproached without cause and falsely accused by his own family. Moses’ response was silence. He did not resent the attack made upon him or attempt in any way to vindicate himself or take revenge.

Take criticism as potentially allowed by God to make you better.Take it as testing what buttons are still active in your carnal nature.

5 Qualities Godly Women Want in a Godly Man.


What qualities do you think a godly man should possess?
What qualities do you think a godly man should possess? (Stock Free Images)

Godly women want a godly man. Well, at least, those who are not called to be celibate. I know I wanted a man who was godly, and after dating a few frogs, I knew the qualities my man had to possess. But I also remembered that I wasn’t perfect and neither could I expect my future mate to be. I had to be willing to love him through his mistakes and sins as he would love me through mine.

My husband turned out to be an amazing godly man and our love story still leaves my mouth gaping. It was only though God’s providence and His handiwork that we met and became one.

So, if you are on the hunt, looking for your wife, allow the Lord to work and allow His handiwork to be displayed—He loves getting the glory. And don’t forget to check out these qualities that may help you become the man your future wife (or even your wife) needs.

1. A servant leader. Women want to be led. We may act as though we can handle it on our own and as if we have it all under control, but that is just what that is: an act. God said that we would want control over you men (Gen. 3:16). Please, men, step up and lead! A leader should be trustworthy, sacrificial, loving, kind and gentle (Eph. 5:25-33; 1 Pet. 3:7). Of course, you won’t be perfect, and neither will she, but with the strength and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, you both can work toward that end.

2. Humility. We women love to see a humble heart. Of course, all of us have pride issues—pride is the root of every sin—but we want to see a man marked with humility. Pride should be something he is daily giving up to the Lord. We can trust a man who has a humble heart (1 Sam. 2:3; Prov. 11:2; Prov. 29:23). We don’t feel secure with a man whose pride is flagrant and who acts as though he has it wired. Who would feel secure?

I know, as a woman, I need to know that my husband has flaws—it makes me feel less alone. It also helps me to know how to pray for my man when there is humility and openness. It also makes me significantly more attracted to my husband when I see humility.

3. A planner. Are you the type of guy to fly by the seat of your pants? Well, chances are your prospective gal isn’t too appreciative of that. That “fly by the seat of your pants” mentality probably trickles into your relationship, making her feel a bit less treasured. May I suggest that you start planning? Women love to see initiative taken (in every area of life). We feel prized when we know there is a plan. Why? Well, because we know we have been thought about and we weren’t an afterthought. Wherever your relationship is, it is never too early to start planning!

4. A gentleman. Every lady loves a gentleman, and every lady who tells you she doesn’t is lying. Well, either that or she is what my husband and I call a “feminazi.” If so, run away, and run away fast. I am from the South, so I am accustomed to doors being opened and men stepping out of the way for women. The South has some positives that you men should take note of! Open our doors, keep a tight rein on your tongue (aka stop the potty mouth!), and treat us like a princess—because every woman is one deep down.

5. Hygiene. I know, this is random, since I have been only noting character traits. However, this needs to be addressed. I don’t know how many guys I run into on a daily basis that look like they just rolled out of bed. Now, I’m not talking about having to go out and buy a $1,000 wardrobe. I’m talking about taking a shower, getting a haircut, shaving and being presentable. When you take a lady out on a date, don’t wear a T-shirt. I mean, come on. Where are the days of dressing up and looking nice? You don’t have to look like you stepped of a GQ magazine, but you at least must look like you cared enough to iron a button-down/polo and gel your hair. Trust me: If you don’t try, well, we probably won’t try to get back in touch with you.

There obviously are tons of qualities remaining that I haven’t broached. However, you can find all of them in God’s Word. Crack it open and ask Him (the Holy Spirit) to guide, convict and change you. I promise you, you won’t lack in anything if you ask Him to equip you (James 1:5-6).

No one is perfect, and no one will be until the day we see Jesus face to face. However, in order to woo a woman, you have to ask God to change you and make you a man (and future husband) worthy of that high calling.

For the original article, visit fearlessmen.com.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

{ Day 256 }.


Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7

When David was promoted to Gibeah, he continued to live from his heart as he did in Bethlehem, faithful to his small responsibilities. Though he was beginning to taste the favor and esteem of men, he continued to be faithful in insignificant tasks. God knew this season of favor would only be temporary. He wanted David to learn to respond with humility and love whether in Bethlehem or Gibeah, isolation or the national spotlight. Often, the Lord will give us a certain amount of success to equip us for the wilderness years that are yet ahead. We will suddenly find ourselves in a position of prominence or leadership where people value our time and opinions. But that’s never the end of the story. Life alternates between times of promotion and times of struggle, times of favor and times of difficulty. When we learn how to lean on Him alone in times of success, we will know how to find Him in times of difficulty.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, never let me lose sight of the fact that all I am and all I have come from You. Give me a heart of humility and love for You, and help me to be faithful in the little things. My source is in You, alone.

Most people never imagine that the season
of success will change, but it
almost always does.

By MIKE BICKLE.

8 Ways Good Leaders Are Great Followers.


Brad-Lomenick-headshot

Brad Lomenick

As leaders, it’s equally important for us to know how to follow as it is how to lead. In fact, many believe to be a good leader, you must first be a great follower and continue to follow well as you continue to lead well.

I would suggest that great leaders are equally in tune with how to follow well as how to lead well. So here are a few thoughts on following:

1. Good followers are finishers. They get the job done, take projects across the finish line and make things happen on their own.

2. Good followers anticipate. They understand what needs to be done next before having to be told, and they are always looking for ways to make the process better.

3. Good followers criticize in private and praise in public. Enough said on that.

4. Good followers are trustworthy. When given an assignment, a leader can be assured it will get done. Dependability—this is incredibly important.

5. Good followers are vision copycats. They take on, embody and live out the vision and mission of their leader and of the organization, helping set and model a cultural standard.

6. Good followers make their leader better. They push their leader and know how to “lead up” appropriately and intentionally.

7. Good followers lead themselves. They don’t need to be managed and aren’t needy. They are self aware and don’t need all the attention from the leader.

8. Good followers are principled. They are humble, disciplined and have complete integrity. They know it’s not about them, and what you see is what you get.

Brad Lomenick is president and key visionary of Catalyst—a movement purposed to equip and inspire young Christian leaders through events, resources, consulting and community. Follow him on Twitter @bradlomenick, or read his personal blog at bradlomenick.com.

For the original article, visit bradlomenick.com.

Written by Brad Lomenick

When People Are Mean.


 

frustrated woman
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)
The comments flickered on my computer screen, one after the next, each one seeming more mean-spirited than the last. My stomach hurt. I like to be liked. I like people to admire my work, and this feedback could in no way be construed as admiration.
A small piece I had written years ago on my old blog had been repurposed by a popular website, and readers were not happy with it. I shut my laptop and went for a little walk, spinning the questions through my head. I debated my faceless critics and formed a brilliant argument in my brain.
The argument went like this: You’re right. My theology was thin on this one, but it wasn’t written to convince anyone. It was written as a small bite to get people to dig deeper and figure out what they believe themselves. But also, you’re picking out splinters and missing big planks of truth … and I frankly think you’re being a little mean about it.
That was pretty much my whole argument. And I thought that, as arguments go, it was quite contrite.
But then I stopped talking and started listening, and I heard in my heart the kind voice of the Holy Spirit, saying, “This? This whole moment of angst and anger and frustration? This is not about them. It’s about you. It’s not about 10 people who don’t know you and never will. This is about humility … and all it can produce in your life.”
Yeah, my life message is that even though we like to avoid suffering, it can produce amazing things in us if we’ll let it. So, apparently, can humility. Shoot.
It’s hard to stay silent and let it work. But work it does. And it is—I can feel it. It’s making me more soft and more committed to the law of kindness in the way I communicate with people. It’s digging deep into the soft ground of my identity and taking out the weeds of pride and perfection that choke out better fruit.
And most of all, it’s making me understand yet again that one of the most beautiful parts of life with Jesus is the unconditional love He offers … love that wraps around us on the days we feel awesome and on the days we feel disastrous.
It’s good love, strong love, and I’m so grateful for it. And I’m not defending mean-spirited people or a dog-eat-dog mindset on the Internet (which I believe I addressed here). I also won’t go back and re-read, just to make myself really humble, because I’m not that cool and I don’t think He’s requiring it of me. But I am learning a lot from my little battle … which just goes to show: Even the battle for humility can be beautiful (shameless book tie-in here).
Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

Bo Stern is a blogger and author of the newly-released Beautiful Battliefields (NavPress). She knows the most beautiful things can come out of the hardest times. Her Goliath came in the form of her husband’s terminal illness, a battle they are still fighting with the help of their four children, a veritable army of friends and our extraordinary God. Bo is a teaching pastor at Westside Church in Bend, Ore. 

Should We Live in Terror of God?.


Verse: Proverbs 1:7

The phrase “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of… knowledge” (Pr 1:7) is the cornerstone of Proverbs. Fear is actually another word for reverence or worship, suggesting that wisdom begins when we properly acknowledge who God is and offer him the worship he deserves. It reminds us that life’s true significance is discovered when we approach God with an attitude of humility and awe, not dread and fright.

The remainder of Proverbs explains how we can fear God in our daily lives. Whether the topic is wealth, work or marriage, we are called to give God the honor due him by obeying his will in each of these areas. A wise person will humbly seek God’s perspective on a matter before acting, but the fool will throw caution to the wind and act on his or her own impulses. What’s the result of ignoring God and doing it our way? “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Pr 14:12).

But the person who fears God, who daily worships and honors him, has nothing to fear in either life or death. Also see Pr 9:10Job 28:28Psalm 111:10.

This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.

How to Resolve Conflict With Humility.


team-conflictStock Free Images

Recently I had the opportunity to lead a breakout session at Lifeway’s Kids Ministry Conference 2012 titled “The Non-Confrontationalist’s Guide to Confrontation.”

There are three reasons why you want to lean into conflict, the first two of which I already have spoken:

Now, I will address reason No. 3.

The Impact of Humility

Micah 6:8 says, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

Humility is one of the greatest attributes of a leader. And the right response to conflict has a way of accentuating our humility (or lack thereof).

There are two essentials to humility: honesty and empathy.

Leaders have to be willing to identify with the frustration of a team member (empathy) and sincerely speak to the challenges a frustration causes (honesty) before they can help the team member see the value of moving toward a solution.

As a leader, I can help someone move beyond conflict toward a solution simply by identifying with what they are feeling.

How many times do people simply want to be heard?

Humility is stopping long enough to listen before offering a solution. Humility is the ability to simply say, “I’m really sorry. I know that’s frustrating.”

The moments when I leap from problem to solution, I don’t get very far unless I get the other person to leap with me. I get them to leap with me when I pause, listen and identify. Nine times out of 10, when someone feels they’ve been heard, they’re more willing to drop their offense and embrace a solution.

Next, I will finish this series with “4 Steps to Success for Conflict Resolution.”

Written by Gina McClain

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children’s ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn. For the original article, visit ginamcclain.com.

Finding our place…


“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
-1 Peter 5:5

People aren’t born with the knowledge that they will have when they reach maturity. A child is born with no fears, totally dependent, an inquiring mind, without prejudices, constantly watching and listening to the events around them, learning and seeking their place in the scheme of things.

When the disciples showed signs of having the wrong kind of pride, Jesus told them that, unless they got rid of all they had perceived about themselves and returned to the mind of a seeking child, they would not “enter the kingdom of heaven. ” Jesus told Nicodemus, a learned man, a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, the same thing: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3b). Jesus made it clear that, to grow in the knowledge of our place in the kingdom of God, we must be willing to walk in childlike humility as we grow in His Word.

Our God is great. “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). Since we were created to know God, we have a yearning to find our place in His kingdom. There are other paths to being honored in this world, but the heavenly path is through childlike humility.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I have sought to be recognized by others, seeking approval and recognition. Lord, forgive me. Help me to live my life with a spirit of humility and thankfulness. Amen.

Devotion: What does it mean to you to live with childlike humility? How has that manifested itself in your life?.

By Fred Gillett, Crystal Cathedral Lay Pastor

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