Love and Humility

Two of my favorite virtues are love and humility. They are two of the qualities in a person I respect most. But it wasn’t until I heard this phrase from a mentor that my perspective was completely shifted:

Love gives. Humility receives.

Love

I’ve always thought of love as being something that happens to two people. I’ve seen people say that they love without being loved in return. But I was pretty sure that at the end of it all, I felt that the lover was foolish and couldn’t sustain it.

I thought of love as a two-way transaction. If it only goes one way, it is not complete. But then I understood this truth:

The truest, most perfect love is the one that is not reciprocated.

It’s easy to love someone that loves me back. It’s difficult, but possible to love someone who hates me. It’s near impossible to love someone who just doesn’t care.

But love gives without demanding anything in return.

Humility

For a long time I viewed humility as self-deprecation. I understood humility as devaluing yourself in the presence of others.

Over time I have realized that there is a confidence in humility. I realized that it is not a matter of valuing something higher than yourself, but it is valuing something before yourself.

Humility is the strength to ask for help. Humility is also the strength to receive help. Humility is the ability to remove the power of pride.

Humility is the proper response to love.

Humility removes the obligation of reciprocating love. It simply receives and is filled by it.

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Today I’m sharing a handwritten post for my friend Michael Perkins. It’s called Love gives. Humility receives. Check it out and spend some time reading his other handwritten posts. I love the creativity he uses to write out the thoughts in his heart. It is a truly unique experience that I highly recommend.

Comments

  1. Great post. I’ve learned over the past few years that humility isn’t easy for me. But I’m learning… slowly.
    jenn recently posted..And She’s Back!… again

  2. Good comments–especially about humility. My dad is the most humble man I know, but I failed to appreciate the confidence required to be humble until I was an adult. Truly amazing.
    seekingpastor recently posted..Caption Contest Monday: Old Navy Mannequins

    • That’s been a revelation for me. Jesus was the most humble and confident man that lived. It seems contradictory at first but Jesus got His confidence from His father and always pointed back to Him.

      That’s how I want to live.

  3. This was such a powerful statement Tony when you wrote,” Over time I have realized that there is a confidence in humility. I realized that it is not a matter of valuing something higher than yourself, but it is valuing something before yourself.”

    It really made me think and I totally agree with you. Humility is the ability to receive. One time my senior Pastor wanted to bless me by giving me something and I kept on telling him that it was okay, that I didn’t need it. He then came out and told me that I was prideful.

    When I look back at that moment, I realized that he was right. I had never seen that before and I think that this is also what you are touching on in today’s post.

    • Yes, that’s a great example man. I’ve been the same way in my life. I hated receiving anything. I always felt I had to reciprocate every gesture or gift. But ultimately it’s prideful. Humility peels off that pride and receives with a thankful heart.

      It’s a work in progress for me too.

  4. great post and thoughts T! There are such misconceptions with humility. i love how confident people can be while seeing another person. I love how humility says i want to know what you know. quiet confidence. working on mine.
    Tracee recently posted..Peace Perspective

  5. I had a grad advisor that taught ancient rhetoric, namely, Aristotelian and Ciceronian virtues. He refused to see humility as a virtue. I vehemently disagreed, and I think you’ve described why, here.

    Thank you!

  6. Tony, excellent insight here!

    It reminds me of the concept of giving. If we truly give, we expect nothing back. For a true gift has no strings attached to it.
    Marni Arnold recently posted..Supposed To

    • Great point, Marni. I have a post in drafts about 8 ways of giving adapted from Jewish culture. Hopefully I can finish it up soon!

      • Wow, Tony! I look forward to this post! Coming from a very Jewish background growing up…it was driven in me to give. One thing I deeply valued about my Jewish upbringing is how much I was taught to give. Jews are ardent about giving…they call it Tzedakah (Hebrew for charity). Huh…perhaps this where my deep desire to give was groomed early in my life? Wow…never thought of this until now. haha :D
        Marni Arnold recently posted..Supposed To

  7. I love that Thomas mentioned how the two terms were beautifully tied together. I have never thought that they were so close to relating to each other. Now I know. Thanks for the post!
    Quinton recently posted..Tweeting For the Glory of God

  8. “Humility is the proper response to love.”

    That needs to go on a T-shirt.
    Jason recently posted..Day 353: Dismantling Disappointing Days

  9. I’m so pumped that you mentioned confidence in humility. Some people believe that humility is walking with your head down. Love is the greatest gift that we have been given. We are called to give it out freely too (love your neighbor as yourself). In today’s “I give because you give me” culture, we have done a poor job of humbling accepting the love that people give us. It’s this conditional thing. I only love if you love me. But Jesus broke this when he said we should love our enemies.

    No comment matters if I don’t say this:

    “I love you man!” I really do. If I could, I would give you a hickey, but I fear the wrath of Katie!”
    Moe recently posted..The Usual Suspects: Drowning Generation

  10. When we refuse to be humble, degrade ourselves, and receive from others, we are actually being very prideful.

    That was a big dose of reality for me to swallow a couple years ago, but so lifechanging.

  11. So good! So simple yet so incredibly profound. Thank you.

  12. “Humility removes the obligation of reciprocating love. It simply receives and is filled by it.”

    This is something I’m learning more and more. I’ve never been good at receiving without feeling the need to reciprocate. But, the past few years have put me in situations where all I could do is receive. I guess God is trying to teach me something.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Hitting Pause

    • Sometimes when you are in a place where you absolutely need help, it breaks your pride and forges humility. It’s tough but necessary to learn. I’ve learned the hard way plenty of times.

  13. Excellent post Tony. Fantastic stuff.

  14. Ditto what Thomas said!! Loved this post! Sometimes nuances & subtitles are missed n this brought nice clarity!

  15. Tony, I like this a lot! I like how two seemingly contradictory terms can be so beautifully tied together in perfect harmony. Excellent post!

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