How dreadful is the feeling where you want to just disappear to where no one sees you? But how awesome is the experience when you are honored to stand in the presence of God, or even highly-respected individuals?
I believe that is a major difference between experiencing humility and humiliation. Humility focuses on the esteem of one uplifting the esteem of another. Humiliation focuses on the circumstance created by one conflicting upon the behavior of another. Notice the difference in complexity?
Scripture demonstrates to us that humility lives in the mind (Acts 20:19). On the contrary, humiliation looks for a home in the soul and spirit (Strong’s Greek: 5014). But both are a matter of perception. If you looked at a pen and placed it next to a military tank, you could easily perceive that while the pen is smaller than the tank, it is not inferior. Tanks can destroy buildings, but pens can destroy nations – and build them for that matter. This is very crucial to understanding the difference between humility and humiliation. Humility empowers us to recognize we are a small piece in a much larger puzzle, but humiliation would cause us to think we are inferior, as one piece, to the process of completing the whole puzzle. Many times, it takes just turning one puzzle piece around a few times to realize that the pattern it holds fits right into everything else. Yet, if the piece was viewed by itself, it would appear to be trivial. Humility comes through seeing the bigger picture, while humiliation comes from the smudge of the smaller one.
When I was in high school, I asked a girl to homecoming. I had a pretty big crush on her; but you know how it is, we didn’t have the same group of friends. So this caused the ever-so-present theatrical hurdle of awkwardness where I had no idea how I was going to go about it.
I’m sorry to say I didn’t think of anything spectacular except simply asking – all the while I had a volcano in the pit of my stomach and tried to breathe the deepest breaths I could. The outcome? I got rejected. I admit, she was very graceful about it. But, that feeling of rejection? Oh dear. I chuckle about it now, but in the moment that volcano got to my head and I just wanted to bury my head in the sand. It took me awhile to realize that the feeling of rejection was really just a product of self-humiliation. In fact, I remember all of my friends showing sympathy about it. Even so, if someone had used that to impose humiliation on me, the only way the feeling of imposed humiliation could evolve into the mindset of humiliation, was by letting me think that about myself.
It was quite an amazing realization to know that I was a gatekeeper of my own perspective. But if we were honest, we would agree that we aren’t always the strongest gatekeepers of our mindsets. This is why the greatest gatekeeper is Jesus Christ at the gate of my heart. He helps me to know how I ought to think about myself. He made it very plain by dying on the cross for me, showing me the value of MY SOUL in HIS EYES. Furthermore, He extends His gift of imparted worth by the channel of His love toward us (Romans 5:17).
Seeing, although, that not only are we loved of God, we are called to love Him and others in return. But the source of that love in which we are called to love with, must be rooted in His character. In light of the sacrifice paid by Jesus Christ, we see that He took on humiliation for us to embrace the humility that comes with receiving His salvation. We can live in boldness and confidence of who we are in Christ, because HIS worth is shared with His people. I heard it put this way, “He put on flesh, so we could put on His robe.” He was humiliated, so that we could walk in His boldness with humility, giving Him all of the credit, glory, and praise due. Don’t be afraid to be boldly humble and humbly bold. Some people are tempted to humiliate themselves rather than be lifted up in pride, substituting one extreme for the other. One very well-known preacher used to say, “For every 1 person who gets lifted up [in pride], there are 10 who are discouraged”. Don’t be a victim of this false dichotomy, choose victory!