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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The misunderstood virtue

Humility isn't humiliation. True humility is to see ourselves as God knows us.

The woman who came to see me at Family Services for help with her unruly children had been beaten by her husband. But the battering she'd undergone seemed incidental to her visit. Incidental to her, not me. Her split lip and purpled moon face, she explained, was her husband's way of making her humble.

My work was cut out for me. For a start, I tried to explain the difference between humility and humiliation.

It's a distinction often lost in a society that admires power verging on ruthlessness, that equates humility with weakness. We're conditioned to demand our rights, to blow our own horn, to watch out for Numero Uno.


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October issue

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