I confess to being a country western fan. I like the old stuff – Merle Haggard, George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys. In my humble opinion, present day country doesn’t speak to the pain and struggle of life like the old stuff. Anyway, during the recent CMA awards, the song of the year was “Humble and Kind,” recorded by Tim McGraw. The songwriter Lori McKenna, wrote the song for her own children to remind them of what’s truly important as they make their way out into the world. The song has launched a humble and kind movement in which fans were paying forward good deeds and sharing about it on line.
Could it be more then coincidence that the song’s popularity is occurring as we experience deep divisions in our nation? The artist, Tim McGraw, does not come across as a wimp of a guy. In a day when there is so much distain for “toxic masculinity” and the “amoral” expressions of masculinity, we have Tim McGraw singing words like: “Don’t expect a free ride from no one/don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why/Bitterness keeps you from flyin’/Always stay humble and kind.” The whole song is reminding us that all of life is build on relationships. Put simply, “How we relate, is who we truly are.”
If there is going to be a “humble and kind” movement it will be expressed in relationships. I suggest that men will need to take the initiative. I take my cue from Gen 3:16, where we read, “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” Male initiative and female response is implied in this relational description after the fall. In I Tim 2:13 Paul reminds us, ” God made Adam first and afterward he made Eve.” In the order of creation man is first and then woman. Romans 5:12 suggests responsibility rest with man. “Sin entered the world through one man.” Women should not be expected to set the tone of being humble and kind. Men need to take the first step. Jesus is our example. “He came to serve, not to be served – and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage” (Mark 10:45 – Message). Godly men can help heal relationships with a posture of a servanthood toward others.
Humility coming from the Latin word “humilis” meaning “on the ground.” This suggests a posture of lowliness. One chooses a lower place. Jesus tells us, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12). Peter instructs us, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, ‘God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.'” (I Peter 5:5). “Growth in humility is powered by the simple desire to become more like Jesus” (Michael Casey). Humble men initiate movement in relationships by being the first to surrender their rights and privilege.
In the OT the word translated as “kindness” refers to God’s long suffering love for his people, in spite of their sinfulness. In the NT the Greek word translated as “grace” best represents the idea of God’s kindness. Kindness chooses to see beyond the faults of others. Jesus teaches us, “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise you – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind: you be kind” (Luke 6:35-36 -Message). Men express kindness by looking beyond the faults of others.