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Monday, 24 August 2015

Take my yoke...

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading the newly published Harper Lee book, "Go Set a Watchman", and since then I have been thinking a lot about the following passage:
“I mean it takes a certain kind of maturity to live in the South these days. You don't have it yet, but you have a shadow of the beginnings of it. You haven't the humbleness of mind-" (Uncle Jack Finch)
"I thought the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom." (Jean Louise Finch--Scout)
"It's the same thing. Humility.” (Uncle Jack Finch)
I think that Harper Lee is saying many things in her conversation between Uncle Jack and Scout, but the thing that struck me on a personal level was the idea of humility.
 Reading this quote was like waking up one morning and seeing something that I had only ever seen in the dark. Suddenly what I thought I knew took on a new shape. Since then the idea of humility as essential in our relationships with God and with others has dogged me, and I know that it is a quality that I need.
I have begun to see that humility is the beginning of wisdom because those who have it start from the premise that they are fallible. Humble people listen carefully because they realize that if they do they may learn something. They remember that every single person has great worth.
Why does Uncle Jack tell "Scout" that she lacks maturity and humbleness of mind? He observes Jean Louise's behaviour when she realizes that her father and her friend believe something abhorrent. Jean Louise confronts them belligerently, and then goes "home" to pack in order to run back to New York. Scout's idol has crashed (her idealized version of her father), and she is going to take her ball and bat and go home. Uncle Jack calls Jean Louise a bigot because "a bigot cannot accept opinions or beliefs other than his own". He tells Scout that now is the time she needs to stay, because "the time your friends need you is when they're wrong."
Humble people do not shout down others, nor they do not back down and run away when confronted with opposition. Humble people do not always concede to other's opinions. They calmly and patiently hold their ground.
I know that I have reacted like "Scout" often, I have refused to accept opinions and beliefs other than my own, and I would say that I am not alone in doing this. It is something I see happen in the church.   We get upset because something is not to our liking, we make a big noise about it, or we stew silently. We make the church our god when we expect her to meet all our expectations and needs, to feed us, entertain us, comfort us, and agree with us. When she fails, we leave and find another church thinking that we've solved the problem; however, we carry ourselves with us, and people are people no matter what church we attend, so eventually problems arise again.
I believe that humility is lacking in our culture. I see its lack in my life every time I run rough shod over someone who is voicing an opinion that I disagree with, or when I stomp away in anger. I see its lack in the church when we quarrel, gossip, and look down on others.

I need to grow up. I know that I am blind to my own sin, and yet see other's faults with 20/20 vision.

I need to acknowledge with David,
'You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
I need to invite the Lord to
Search me... and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. (from Psalm 139)
I need to be like Mary, who sat at Jesus feet and listened to what he said,.
I need to do as Jesus instructed me to "take [his] yoke upon myself and learn from him, because he is gentle and humble of heart". Matthew 11:29
Taking Jesus yoke means that I am willing to learn to walk under his guidance, as he teaches me gentleness and humility of heart.

There are many lessons to learn; as long as I live, I hope to go on learning, and finding wisdom where ever the Lord leads me. 

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossian 3:12-14