Thursday, August 09, 2012

Humility

"Hey, you should come and help me with this," my mom said holding up a half fresh chicken with bloody looking internal organs, "so you'll know how to cut people's next time."

Now I know why did she protested so strongly when I first told her about my ambition.

About setting an ambition, I've been talking quite a bit recently about my past experiences of finally settling with medicine and whenever this happens, this whole dilemma of showing pride with honesty or hypocritically-pretending to be humble hits me. It just happens every single time. In fact, I don't know why I always get this pang of guilt talking about my past experiences/achievements, as if I have done something wrong. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut no matter what next time. A confession: I really did do something wrong - for allowing pride taking over.

Fine, let's not even pull 'being proud' into the picture. To be genuinely humble, is extremely difficult. A person can be self-effacing, gentle, meek and 'humble' all the the time, but is the person really humble? Or is he just pretending to be humble, a hypocrite, so he can earn his rewards? Is he trying to earn praises from his friends, seniors for the sake of his resume/popularity, or is he really putting others' higher than him?

Next, how much 'humility' is humility? Where is the fine line separating humility and low self-esteem? What if I'm being so humble such that I've discredited all the blessings that God wants to me share with others, as a testimony of His love in my life, and yet here I am, keeping everything to myself? Should I share?

A friend once told me, that's not the point of humility. (I've talked to a few friends regarding this, but none seemed to give a pragmatic answer, or what a pragmatist would be fond of.)  Rather, humility is about imitating Christ. No doubt, humility has been a very central virtue of our Lord. But, what exactly is imitating Christ?

Who, being in very nature God, 
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing 
    by taking the very nature of a servant, 
    being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death 
        even death on a cross!

(Philippians 2:7-8)

Was reading this passage as a friend suggested. Then I read the whole chapter.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(Philippians 2:3-4)

There, that is more like a practical, clear first step of imitating Christ. :) 

Slightly more than 40 days till departure. I've been back from camp for almost 3 weeks and I'm back to madly reading. I mean, 40 days left to read whatever I like. Got bored of non-fictions, have been reading quite a few beautifully-written fictions. The stock-up session at Bookxcess in KL few weeks ago (3 books bought only) has proven to be obviously very inadequate to satisfy my craving for stories, but thank God for the another financially-able book-lover at home - my sister-in-law. Her library is amazing. So...back to reading!

1 comment:

Philip said...

Hi Christine
I think humility revolves around your general demeanor - how you are as a person and being absolutely honest with yourself. In respect of ambition we are all have special gifts (God given) and it is right that we make the most of them. This might include striving to do well academically to become a doctor (a worthy profession in the service of others). Humility for me is how you go about achieving ambitions. I don't think there is anything wrong in feeling pleased about reaching objectives but, as I am sure you are realising, new objectives surface all the time (passing year one; qaulifying; first appointment etc.- it never ends so there is little time to bask in the glory of achievement.

I read your blog but felt I would like to respond to this entry. Anyhow, congratulations on gaining a place in Cambridge University - this is a genuinely fine achievement.