Humility is Active, not Passive
April 9, 2012
Humility is one of the foundational concepts we teach at SFT Awareness. It is a concept that some people are afraid to practice for fear of becoming a doormat. There are others who practice it as a doormat proving the former correct. However, it is false to view humility in the doormat perspective.
Philippians 2:3, 4 provides two excellent definitions of humility. These verses say, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Basically, humility is counting others more significant and putting others interests before our own.
The confusion of doormat humility comes from a misunderstanding between the active and passive voice. The active voice is when I am doing the action such as, “I am walking my dog.” The passive is when it is being done to me. For example, “I am being walked by my dog.” The passage in Philippians is written in the active voice. This means that humility is something that I do for someone else. It is not something that is being done to me.
Some may wonder if Christ was practicing passive humility by allowing himself to be placed on the cross for our behalf. However, Matt 26:53 says Jesus could call twelve legions of angels at his defense. Jesus looked at us as more significant than himself (Phil 2:3) and actively allowed himself to be placed on the cross. He was not forced to take that action.
People who are afraid to become a doormat for using humility have nothing to fear. Humility is a choice that each person gets to choose to do. Those who have been the doormat have likely built resentment to those they allowed to walk on them. Learn how to develop boundaries, become assertive (not aggressive), and practice a humility that is a choice and not forced. Then humility can provide the true fulfillment that is offers.