Humility, The Lost Virtue


“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.”  â€“C.S. Lewis

What ever happened to humility?   Once valued in our culture, humility just isn’t practiced at all.   Instead, we have a self-centered, chest-thumping, braggadocios, pat yourself on the back generation with an exaggerated self-importance.

The NFL running back, who years ago would credit the linemen for their great blocking and opening the way for his touchdown runs, will thump his chest and tell you how great he is, the best running back ever!

The mid-level boss at work takes credit for every accomplishment in his department never complimenting his staff for work well done.

The musician who interrupts an awards presentation to tell the recipient that someone else is better than she is.

The gossip, who is constantly putting down friends in an effort to make herself look better.

Yes, it’s true, humility is the ugly duckling of virtues, lost in a quagmire of self-centered bravado. This foolish pride is hubris and humility is the anecdote for hubris.

Somehow, over time, we have come to believe that humility is a lack of self-confidence, that humble people are shy or timid.   Nothing could be further from the truth!

That’s why C.S. Lewis’ quote is so important.   Humility understands that giving credit to others for their achievements doesn’t diminish our accomplishments. We gain respect, by being humble.   By simply shifting the focus away from self to others we make a powerful statement of leadership.   Try it sometime, and you will see the power of humility.

“Let another praise you, not your own mouth; a stranger, not your own lips.”  â€“Proverbs 27:2

So, what are some examples of modern day humility?   What are a few simple things we can do to be more humble?

  • Try opening a door for someone, or giving up you place in the checkout line to the woman with a fussy child.
  • Clean up the coffee spills in the lunch room at work even though you don’t drink coffee.
  • When being honored for an accomplishment, use the opportunity to thank the people that helped you get there.
  • Cook a meal for the woman down the street who recently lost her husband, or invite her to lunch.
  • Instead of donating money to the local soup kitchen, volunteer to wait on tables once a month.

I am sure you can think of many others.

As Christians, we don’t have to look very far for examples of humility.   Jesus himself was born in a stable, had few possessions, and no place to live.   He led a humble life, but changed the world.

“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.”   –Philippians 2:3

If we realize that our goal on this earth is not how great we can become, but how much of a difference we can make in the lives of others, then we will begin to understand the virtue of humility.

Let’s practice humility!

Original Blog used with permission can be found here: