The Grace of Humility

monkHumility is a hard virtue to work within you. The first tenet of humility seems to be, “if you think you’re humble, you’re not.” Jeremy Taylor, a 17th century pastor-scholar, offered nineteen “rules” or “guidelines” to cultivate humility in our life as well as to shrink pride. If we desire to exude the character of Christ, then we have to be humble. Why? God once wore a robe and washed his disciples’ feet. He also wore some nails and a crown of thorns for us and our salvation.

  1. Do not think better of yourself because of any outward circumstances that happen to you.
  2. Humility does not consist in criticizing yourself, or wearing ragged clothes, or walking around submissively wherever you go. Humility consists in a realistic opinion of yourself, namely that you are an unworthy person.
  3. When you hold this opinion of yourself, be content that others think the same of you.
  4. Nurture a love to do good things in secret, and therefore not highly esteemed because of them. Be content to go without praise.
  5. Never be ashamed of your birth, of your parents, your occupation, or your present employment, or the lowly status of any of them.
  6. Never say anything, directly or indirectly, that will provoke praise or elicit compliments from others.
  7. When you do receive praise for something you have done, take it indifferently and return it to God.
  8. Make a good name for yourself by being a person of virtue and humility.
  9. Do not take pride in any praise give to you. Rejoice in God who gives gifts others can see in you.
  10. Do not ask others your faults with the intent or purpose being to have others tell you of your good qualities.
  11. When you are slighted by someone, or feel undervalued, do not harbor any secret anger. Do not try to seek out a group of flatterers who will take your side.
  12. Do not entertain any of the devil’s whispers of pride.
  13. Take an active part in praising others.
  14. Be content when you see or hear that others are doing well in their jobs and with their income, even when you are not.
  15. Never compare yourself with others unless it be to advance your impression of them and lower your impression of yourself.
  16. Do not constantly try to excuse all of your mistakes. Virtue scorns a lie for its cover.
  17. Give God thanks for every weakness and imperfection you have. Accept it as a favor from God, an instrument to resist pride and nurse humility.
  18. Do not expose others’ weakness in order to make them feel less able than you.
  19. Remember that what is most important to God is that we submit ourselves and all that we have to Him.

Humility begins as a gift from God, but it is increased as a habit we develop.


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