We read in Isaiah 57:15, “The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One says this: I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” God, the Holy One, is found among the contrite and humble. Proverbs 18:12 reminds us, “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor,” while Proverbs 29: 23 warms us, “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” To be honored is to be respected and thought of as a person of integrity. We all want that as men, but it comes through humility.
These verses took on new meaning for me during a recent visit of my three teenage grandsons. I certainly wanted them to think well of me as grandpa. I was being tested about being present and open with them. My wife and I had prayed before hand that we might be used of God to bear witness of God’s love for them. I was learning again that “honesty” and “openness” were key in communicating with them. God provided a good incident in this regard.
This is what happened. Two of my grandsons and myself were coming in from fishing just before our noon meal. The boys had already gone up the hill, while I put the boat away. All of sudden I had to do “a dump.” I knew I would not make it. So I stayed in the water and cleaned up as best I could. I came to the meal with a clean pair of shorts on, but I was unaware that I still smelled. As we were eating, my two grandsons could detect a smell. I was totally humiliated. So for desert, I suggested we go out on the deck. That saved me.
After desert, I made my confession of not being able to made it up the hill to go to the bathroom. I acknowledged my humiliation. We all had a great laugh. I said that I had been convicted of my spiritual pride. I told my daughter’s family that God was using the incident to humble me. Instead of neglecting to talk about “the smell,” I owned up to what had happen. More was accomplished in my publicly embracing my humiliation, rather then hiding the cause of the smell. By God’s grace I could shallow my pride, leaving my grandsons an example of humiliation, hoping that God could use my confession as a witness to them, remembering the humility comes before honor.
Men, I am thankful for the freedom to be able to admit such a humiliating experience as that “smell” at the dinner table. Words can not convey how uncomfortable and humiliated I felt. I knew I would have to say something. Being out on the deck, with the fresh breezes blowing, gave me my opportunity. I am just “grandpa” not a “spiritual” elder in the church in the eyes of those boys. I wanted to be a grandfather who was fully present to them. It can be humbling at times.
Remember men, God has called you to be faithful in being both physically and emotionally present to your family. It calls for real humility. It is through humility that we connect with our children and grandchildren. If you want to be honored and respected as father or grandfather, the Spirit of God uses the posture of humility to communicate empathy to those we love and are called to influence, not a cold, indifferent, “performance orientated” spirituality. Your family wants to connect with a real man. Humility will cause you to be real.