Thursday, August 01, 2002

A lesson in humility

Last fall I reread "The Screwtape Letters" and thoroughly enjoyed it. One part that caused me to laugh out loud felt very familiar.

Screwtape advises his nephew Wormwood to counter humility in the "patient" by planting the thought, "I was just humble!" The pride that results ruins the humility. But it can be cyclical, Screwtape advises, and the patient may find the whole thing absurd if carried on too long, and laugh it off.

I laughed because that happens to me a fair amount. Any time I manage to do something without thinking first of its impact on the Almighty Me, I wind up patting myself on the back for having been humble. I do manage sometimes to find the cycle of humility and pride amusing, and move on. But I could never figure out how to break it.

The other day the Holy Spirit gave me the answer. "I was just humble!" I congratulated myself proudly. "Finally!" replied the Spirit.


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