humility is very rarely modeled well. we live in a culture of self-sufficiency where exposing needs is horrifically unheard of. this epidemic of pride exists just as much inside of the church as it does outside. the inability to receive is the result of failing to humble yourself, and admit that without others and ultimately without god we can do nothing.
monday night was our first young life club of the year. the ways of young life are very different that the ways of the church. it is neither better, or worse. it is just different. we sing crazy songs and act out ridiculous skits. this week we sang (and it is not unusual) "lean on me". i have heard and sung this song thousands of times. but i have never actually known all the lyrics. while i was singing the words - ok, i was screaming them...this is young life remember???... god quietly ministered to my heart. there is a chorus in the song that forces its way through the nearly uncrushable walls of pride we spend a lifetime building around our safe, comfortable lives.
Please swallow your pride
If you have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show
unnerving right? the next chorus goes even further to chop off our peacock feathers; as if to say, "you CANNOT do this alone".
If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me
thank you bill withers (the writer of this simple song) for addressing the vain arrogance of our culture, thank you for playing a role in the destruction of my own vanitities that sway me to believe i can do it alone. through these words i am reminded of one of my favorite films that models the art of reliance upon others. it comes from "cinderella man" and in it we find the brutality of the great depression and the unbearable toll it takes on one family. here james braddock portrays the great lengths a man will go to fight for his family, including gathering his self-respect to go out and ask his friends and boxing sponsors for money. it is a painfully stunning scene of humility.
when we live under the shadow of pride we cease to hear the words of christ. we cease to receive the blessing of our true identity. and it is only when we are able to hear and receive these blessed words of truth can we go out and bless others. as the transparent henri nouwen puts it; "nonetheless, real care means the willingness to help eachother in making our brokenness into the gateway of joy."