Just a few reflections today on power. I’ve been thinking particularly of humility as an instance of power. What does it do? I am having to reflect on this from a distance because it’s not my long suit. (did that sound humble?). But I know humble people and so have experienced their power.
Humility is primarily relational power, the most effective kind of power in most of life’s interactions. It creates an open field, room for the other. The humble person is not so full of himself that there’s no room for anyone else. Humility is hospitable. And it’s hospitality that allows people with differences to continue to hear one another. It allows the room for people to turn or change or accept a new outcome.
Humility does not create a field of resistance. As Paul says of the fruit of the Spirit, against these things there is no law. So, it is not only a defensive or protective kind of power. It projects or extends fields of influence and potential accomplishment.
This is the opposite of pride (the kind the bible says is bad–Avett bros reference). Pride creates resistance. While pride projects a certain kind of power, it needs other, more coercive forms of power to effectively maintain itself. Moreover, pride requires constant vigilance. Others are a threat to our pride and the constant attention to image and perception with others is consuming.
Humility requires none of this. It’s power comes on board. It is located in an authentic self and can be distinguished easily from false-modesty or self-debasement.
Because of this authenticity, I don’t think humility is something you can produce or affect. Rather, humility comes through the recognition that what and who we are and have has been given. Humility may be the manifestation of receiving life thankfully as a gift, and therefore of not being anxious about life. And this comes from the Sprint of the one who gave us life.
What would you add?