“Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:
God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.”
-1 Peter 5:5
I’ve been trying to be more diligent about reading the daily readings a bit earlier in the day. Thankfully my kids (the ones already born or the one in utero) have a habit of waking me up pretty early, so I try to steal a few moments to read the readings before the day really gets started. Yesterday I pulled up the readings and as I read these first few lines, I certainly got a much needed sucker punch from St. Peter.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Be humble when you deal with other people. God doesn’t really like it when people are proud, but He truly loves the humble. As I read, and re-read these words, what hit me most was this: you have no idea what other people are going through when you deal with or interact with them, don’t pretend like you do.
It is so easy to do, isn’t it? That snooty person in the grocery store is so easy to get irritated at, to judge, or to snap back at. The person you called just to say hi is short and cold when you were just hoping for a few minutes to catch up. I know that I am so unbelievably, alarmingly quick to judge others, to assume that I know their intentions or their heart…and then write them off or dismiss them completely. St. Peter encourages us to take a different route, namely, to clothe ourselves with humility. To admit that we don’t have a gosh darn clue about the 40 things that happened to that person before we interacted with them that led to their current behavior. We are, in this sense, no better than the person who snaps at us when we assume that we know better, or that we are better than they are because we didn’t snap. Rather, the better route, the route of holiness, tells us – invites us, really – to humble ourselves. To get off our high horse, admit that we don’t know, and give that person – every person – the benefit of the doubt. To be kind to others, even if they aren’t kind to us.
I have a feeling that St. Peter knew what he was talking about and that God really does bestow favor on those who are humble in their dealings with others. So the next time you are tempted to hop back up on that high horse when you deal with someone, remember the words of St. Peter and try a different option, a different attitude, one the Lord will bestow favor on. I’m willing to bet that life will be better if you do.