I watched the Bill W. documentary about the founder of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped millions of people who, before this program, were considered a lost cause). Bill Wilson was passionate about helping alcoholics recover and was committed to getting the word out. He also esteemed humility and knew the program would fail without it.
Bill faced a critical decision on how he would structure the program going forward when offered an honorary degree from Yale and a cover story in Time magazine — He had to choose whether to prioritize anonymity or grow the program through self-promotion. His anxiety was consuming as he knew these accolades would bring many people to AA, but he also knew humility was critical for the program’s success. He took the humble route and turned down the magazine and the prestigious degree.
Bill W. lived by James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” I don’t think Bill was naturally humble (just my thought – I don’t think it is normal for anyone who achieves this level of fame or accomplishment to be), but I do believe he valued God’s truth over his desires and that changed him and enabled him to achieve great things. Tradition 12 of AA speaks on this — Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. Jesus is the ultimate example of humility, as He died for our sins and was lifted to the right-hand side of our Father.
It’s natural to want credit for something we have done. We want to be liked and respected by others. However, when we grow attached to recognition or esteem, our motivation can change from others to ourselves, and that’s where we get in trouble. Pride is something I struggle with (I don’t know why I’m not that great), and what has most helped me is to esteem humility and strive for it instead of focusing on not being prideful. Things work out when I focus on doing things God’s way instead of trying harder to succeed. Focusing on the problem instead of the solution just makes things more challenging.
Pride is the demise of so many; no one is exempt. When we focus on pleasing God over people, it is a game changer and the secret to a satisfying life free of such attachments.
Here are some Bible verses about the importance of humility that have helped me:
2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm (25:9, 149:4), Proverbs (3:34, 11:2, 15:33, 18:12), Luke 14:11, Romans (12:3, 12:16).
I would love to hear your thoughts on humility and continue this faith conversation at www.disruptivegrace.com