21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Humility requires confidence. As Romans 1 strikes me as the root cause of my problem, so Romans 3 begins to build the fulcrum of the solution. I’ve been waiting for this verse, trying hard to wait – – like a kid who must sleep the night before a trip to an amusement park. Romans 3:23 – – all. I don’t want to include you in all. I’m selfish. Its not about you – – its about me. I’m there in the center of all. Perhaps you are the center of your own all too. Why be selfish here? Because the first person under judgment, the only person I am dimly qualified to judge – – is me. Sin is a difficult word. Ultimately I believe it is an archer’s term – – not hitting the mark. Not shooting first, then painting the bull’s eye and concentric circles later. I don’t hit the mark – – I can’t even reach my own center. I’m not kind enough, patient enough, generous enough, smart enough, thin enough or rich enough – – the latter two aren’t even laudable goals – – how laughable am I!
Humility requires confidence. How can I reach for humility from self effacement, worse debasement? What confidence serves as a foundation? The confidence that comes from being loved. The confidence that comes from being valued by another whom I admire. I live and breathe in America. It seems so counter-cultural and Philistine that I would derive my worth from another. Isn’t that what we have risen from? Isn’t slavery one of the greatest stains on our national conscience? It is. So why build humility on vicarious confidence? I’m getting to know myself as the trail of life winds forward, up and around. I know that I miss the mark and I desperately want and need someone to walk with me. Wish fulfillment? Oh yes – – I wish for one to lead me. Superman? Oh no – – Nietzsche was wrong. I understand this better – – or better, this understands me.
Humility requires confidence in one deserving of confidence. As I place that confidence in following Christ, I’m able to say that I don’t understand it all. I’m able to put myself firmly in Romans 1 and not hypocritically assign only others who struggle in different ways. Am I completely humble, completely gentle? Dear God – – no. But I see what you did for me, see how I needed you and what you did in compassion, and I start to see a way forward. There are two paths to humility – – a destination that I seek. I’ve known one path – – humiliation. This is another, and I propose the better.