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Humility or Humiliation?

The book of Proverbs is a compendium of wisdom. Of things that conform to the created order, and of things that do not. Put simply, the way things work, and the way they do not.

So what does Proverbs say about (the virtue of) humility and its opposite, pride? Hear from Proverbs 18:12: “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor” (NRSV). Or as The Living Bible (TLB) puts it: “Pride ends in destruction; humility ends in honor.”

You get the idea. The only difference between humility and humiliation is that one chose to bow low, while the other tripped and fell there.

So here is the thing: anything that infuses us with humility is to be valued. Humility isn’t a place of weakness, but rather a position that precedes honor. Even if it feels a bit like humiliation in the moment, the inner workings of humility are a gift.

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