Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church (Memorial)
Who are you?
Maybe you’ve heard of a “humblebrag,” a term coined during the social-media age. Humblebragging is a kind of boasting camouflaged in humble language. A humblebrag, for example, would be a mother posting on Facebook that she just spilled wine all over the papers she needed to sign up her son for a special school program for gifted students. On the surface, she is talking about how clumsy she can be, but underneath, she is bragging about her son’s accomplishments.
While the word “humblebrag” may be new, the concept is probably as old as humanity itself. It also shows how tricky distinguishing between true and false humility can be. Does humility mean downplaying our accomplishments? Is it really bragging when we are merely telling someone about something good that has happened to us?
John the Baptist might be able to help us. When some of the Jewish leaders came to question him about his ministry, John didn’t play games or mince words. Rather, his answers revealed a deeply humble man.
John admitted that he wasn’t the Messiah. He wasn’t even the “Prophet” whom Moses had promised would arise in Israel’s hour of need (John 1:24; Deuteronomy 18:15). At the same time, John also believed that God had indeed sent him. That’s why he could be bold, even audacious, in calling kings and commoners alike to repentance.
John shows us that true humility is simply being sure of who you are and being clear about who you are not. John wasn’t down on himself by any means. And neither should we belittle ourselves or carry around a negative self-image. It’s true, none of us is perfect, so we shouldn’t judge other people when they fall. But neither are we the world’s savior. We can’t fix every problem or bear every burden.
Whatever we are or are not, one thing is certain: we are made in the image of God. We are graced with innumerable blessings, especially the gift of the Spirit. God has given each of us a special calling, just as he did for John. Just knowing this can breed a healthy confidence, even as it frees us up to think about other people more than ourselves.
So who are you?
“Lord, thank you for gracing me with your love.”
1 John 2:22-28
Word Among Us