Proud or humble?

By Jeff Smith
Special to The PREVIEW
The kind of person we are is more important than what we know, say or do.
The proverbs of the Bible are part of God’s “wisdom” scriptures. Here God offers His advice, rather than giving commands. These writings from Solomon differ from other later philosophies, philosophy being “the love of wisdom.” They address matters of the soul as well as the mind.
This is my morning verse:
“When pride comes, there comes shame, but wisdom is with the quiet (or lowly or humble) in spirit.” — Proverbs 11:2 (BBE).
Pride can “come.” We do not start out that way, but we can end up that way. We “become” self-centered, and easy to offend. We need to have our name in the forefront even at the expense of others and have selfish motives to hide. And despite any skill or advanced learning, we still end up ashamed in the end.
The “lowly” or “humble” person has nothing to hide. They may enjoy the spotlight, but they don’t need it because their soul is at rest. C. S. Lewis once described being humble as a person who is happy when praised by others, but also happy when others receive praise. So, the humble have more insight into problems because they have no ego to bruise, no hidden agenda to cover up.
There is a larger issue here. In a way, Solomon argues against the need for an elite of the learned. That is, the need for a group of people who know more than we do, to decide things for us less-informed folks. This verse argues it is the soul of the person, the degree of character, not the mind, that is central. The Christian belief in salvation by faith supports this idea because it means the kind of person can be changed by a power open to all. This occurs without regard to wealth, background, status or learning. So anyone can become someone worthy of being listened to. Those who enjoy a certain advantage over us may fear that idea.
Learning is good. It requires work. We know that. The kind of person we are, though, rather than what we know or say, is the greater asset when the problems are many and the answers few. Scripture is oxygen for the souls of those who have not had the open doors to learn that others have had.
We may even be the better for it.

This story was posted on February 22, 2018.