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Author Topic: some ways to have more humility?  (Read 923 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: July 05, 2010, 08:55:20 AM »

I was listening to today's Orthodox Life Tip just now.  you can listen also:

http://www.orthodoxresource.com/lifetips/podcast/2010/lt070510.mp3

the man makes an interesting point, Humility casts away demons far better than fasting, vigils, etc.  what are some ways an Orthodox Christian can have/show more humility?

and, could someone please provide a concrete meaning for the word "humility" for me?  I have to admit, growing up in an "fallen away" Presbyterian home, we still had traces of our Calvanist roots, in that, when we have nice things, it was a sign from God that we are good Christians. I would love to give a quote from a book about Calvanism, but I'm much more interested in reading about Orthodoxy at the moment.

(oh, by the way, I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July!)
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2010, 09:58:43 AM »

Humility is basically the opposite of self-exaltation, pride, and arrogance.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2010, 10:01:15 AM »

Humility is basically the opposite of self-exaltation, pride, and arrogance.

wow, I have some serius work to do.  thanks, Melodist!
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 10:51:19 AM »

what are some ways an Orthodox Christian can have/show more humility?

Volunteer to do custodial work at your parish.  Cleaning restrooms can be humbling.
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2010, 11:25:29 AM »

I was listening to today's Orthodox Life Tip just now.  you can listen also:

http://www.orthodoxresource.com/lifetips/podcast/2010/lt070510.mp3

the man makes an interesting point, Humility casts away demons far better than fasting, vigils, etc.  what are some ways an Orthodox Christian can have/show more humility?

and, could someone please provide a concrete meaning for the word "humility" for me?  I have to admit, growing up in an "fallen away" Presbyterian home, we still had traces of our Calvanist roots, in that, when we have nice things, it was a sign from God that we are good Christians. I would love to give a quote from a book about Calvanism, but I'm much more interested in reading about Orthodoxy at the moment.

I haven't listened to this particular show, but I will only say that humility is the bedrock of our fasting and vigils.  To dispense with vigils and fasting (and though I haven't listened to the show, I don't believe he would make such a case) in order to devote ourselves exclusively to humility is to remove powerful tools to embed that humility in us.  How can deprivation of food which realizes that we can only hope on God to provide or standing in vigil before the Godhead where we come face to face with our own sinfulness not humble us?  Christ, when asked by His apostles about how faith that could move a mountain may be achieved, He responded "Only with prayer and fasting."  He did NOT say, "With humility."  From my perspective, humility is the foundation for prayer and fasting.  To create an artificial scenario where vigils and prayers are not given their due so humility may grow is not within the Orthodox ethos.

As to your question on what humility means, it comes from the Latin word, humus, which means "the earth."  Many people erroneously believe that to be humble you simply allow people to trample all over you and do nothing about, like we do on the earth.  And yes, we abuse the earth when we dump our trash wherever we feel like or when we fail to be good stewards.  Yet, the earth still provides and we reap the benefits.  (This is why that whole Gaia theory is bunk!).  The earth still brings forth riches and we are still allowed to partake of them.  Such should be the same with us.  When people walk over us, we shouldn't become angry or strike back, nor should we harbor some passive-aggressiveness towards them (a lot of people think that is humility; getting angry and riled up but not doing anything about the wrong which caused it), but we should be like the earth and allow the virtues, such as compassion, forgiveness, etc.  to spring forth from us as the earth produces fruit for our consumption.
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 11:53:24 PM »

could someone please provide a concrete meaning for the word "humility" for me?


Most of the time I don't have a clue what humility is and when I think I do I exalt myself for being smart enough to recognize it.  Cheesy

As we start to progress along the spiritual path we begin to realize exactly how much of a hold our egos really have on us. It affects practically every aspect of how we think and behave. Even now I'm talking to you like I think I know what I'm talking about. How many ego driven arguments do we see on this forum every single day?

It is so pervasive it boggles the mind. I think the first step is to begin to recognize the problem. I highly recommend the book Bread & Water, Wine & Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Weber. It is an excellent introduction to the subject. 
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 01:36:11 AM »

I was listening to today's Orthodox Life Tip just now.  you can listen also:

http://www.orthodoxresource.com/lifetips/podcast/2010/lt070510.mp3

the man makes an interesting point, Humility casts away demons far better than fasting, vigils, etc.  what are some ways an Orthodox Christian can have/show more humility?

and, could someone please provide a concrete meaning for the word "humility" for me?  I have to admit, growing up in an "fallen away" Presbyterian home, we still had traces of our Calvanist roots, in that, when we have nice things, it was a sign from God that we are good Christians. I would love to give a quote from a book about Calvanism, but I'm much more interested in reading about Orthodoxy at the moment.

(oh, by the way, I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July!)

Helping the poor and persevering through suffering, and insults. Turning the other cheek is hard on a consistent bases but I do remember a few times (not all the time) in the past in where I refused to retaliate and at that moment I felt peace and warmth within.

But yeah, helping those less fortunate.....not only the ones in town, but also in church. You can learn alot about yourself through helping others.




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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2010, 01:37:38 AM »

I was listening to today's Orthodox Life Tip just now.  you can listen also:

http://www.orthodoxresource.com/lifetips/podcast/2010/lt070510.mp3

the man makes an interesting point, Humility casts away demons far better than fasting, vigils, etc.  what are some ways an Orthodox Christian can have/show more humility?

and, could someone please provide a concrete meaning for the word "humility" for me?  I have to admit, growing up in an "fallen away" Presbyterian home, we still had traces of our Calvanist roots, in that, when we have nice things, it was a sign from God that we are good Christians. I would love to give a quote from a book about Calvanism, but I'm much more interested in reading about Orthodoxy at the moment.

(oh, by the way, I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July!)

Helping the poor and persevering through suffering, and insults. Turning the other cheek is hard on a consistent bases but I do remember a few times (not all the time) in the past in where I refused to retaliate and at that moment I felt peace and warmth within.







thanks, I could definatley use this at school. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2010, 02:08:06 AM »

One thing I struggle with is feeling the need to justify or defend myself. It is especially tough on this forum! Grin But I think true humility is accepting insults and injury without trying to prove to others that what is being done to us or said about us is untrue and undeserved. Our Lord was the epitome of humility as He endured all manner of undeserved insults and injury - even unto death - and yet He never tried to justify Himself before men. I am so far away from this attitude. But perhaps this forum is one way to begin cultivating humility. Quite a test it will be for an arrogant man such as I!

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." [Philippians 2:5-8]


"Lord have mercy."


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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2010, 10:42:18 AM »

A few thoughts:

1. In Greek, the word is ταπείνωσις, which means "lowness or low estate in life," as in, one who is vulgar (not noble or landed or educated or refined), not well respected, having no position of authority, no money, no fame, and none of the good things that mark a person of greatness, success, or divine blessing. That's the literal meaning. Metaphorically, this sort of "low estate" is often applied to one's moral or spiritual reality, so that one can be a spiritual zero, "leading one to perceive and lament his (moral) littleness and guilt," as Kittle puts in in the TDNT.

2. The Theotokos, in Luke 1:48, says "For He has regarded the lowly state (ταπείνωσις) of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed." In other words, the humble condition, in that she had no social standing, is unworthy of such a great calling, etc.

3. There is a famous Icon from Holy Week, Η Άκρα Ταπείνωσις, The Extreme Humility, which depicts a thoroughly humiliated or abased Christ. That is the "icon" of true humility: One who is actually truly blessed willingly suffering the insults and persecution of those who say he is not blessed.



4. Martyrdom and bearing insults aside, in many writings of the Fathers, humility means (a) never thinking you are spiritually great, no matter how much fasting, prayer, almsgiving, etc. you do; and (b) never making a show of your asceticism. Thus, the holier a saint becomes, the more she is thoroughly convinced that she is the worst of sinners. If you ever think you are more spiritual or holier or better than someone else, no matter how "bad" they are, then you are full of pride, not humility. And, of course, if you make a big deal to others about your ascetical practices, then you're totally missing the point.

As Jesus said in Matthew 6, "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly...But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly...But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."

That's why Archimandrite Sophronios wrote that "truly charismatic people do not make a show of their gifts and graces."
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2010, 12:49:57 PM »


"The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking yourself inferior to all creatures."

—Abba Tithoes



I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility."

—St. Anthony the Great

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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2010, 04:46:18 PM »

could someone please provide a concrete meaning for the word "humility" for me?


Most of the time I don't have a clue what humility is and when I think I do I exalt myself for being smart enough to recognize it.  Cheesy

As we start to progress along the spiritual path we begin to realize exactly how much of a hold our egos really have on us. It affects practically every aspect of how we think and behave. Even now I'm talking to you like I think I know what I'm talking about. How many ego driven arguments do we see on this forum every single day?

It is so pervasive it boggles the mind. I think the first step is to begin to recognize the problem. I highly recommend the book Bread & Water, Wine & Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Weber. It is an excellent introduction to the subject. 
yes, I think that we all have a problem with this to some degree.  I ESPECIALLY DO.  you know, it wasn't till I joined the Church that I realized just how many times I sin.  It's astounding, really.
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"It is true that I am not always faithful, but I never lose courage, I leave myself in the Arms of Our Lord." - St. Thérèse of Lisieux
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