Humble is the Way

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10 NIV 1)

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” 1 Peter 5:6 2)

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6 NIV 3)

Being Humble is Good for You

Competitive Advantage for Leaders Comes From Surprising Trait

This article jumped out at me as I was reading through the news headlines. Some form of the word “humble” is mentioned over 60 times in the Bible, so we know it is imperative for spiritual growth. Apparently now research is showing that it is beneficial to other areas of our life as well. As a 16 year veteran of law enforcement and an extreme alpha-male personality, you are probably not surprised to hear me confess that I have had one or two run ins with not being humble. Throughout my Christian walk, I would read over and over again about how being humble would be seen as favorable in God's eye and how it was one of the most important aspects of Christian life. Even armed with this knowledge I struggled deeply with traveling down a humble path. What made it even more difficult was that in the early days of my career, the trend of a no-nonsense, hard-charging police mentality was being taught at the academies and expected on the job as well. Being humble was considered a weakness and an undesirable trait in officers and especially in police leaders. So like many young officers, I trusted that what I was being told was fact and supportive of the overall law enforcement mission. The media's portrayal of cops was not helping the situation either. Scenes of “bad cop”/ “bad cop” interrogations were the norm and young officers got it in their heads that this was the way to fight crime. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely many justified times that you have to put hands on people and maintain control. There are also times that asserting stoic authority will keep someone from getting hurt. We are not in this profession to get injured. It is my experience that these are more rare than the general public may believe.

I See the Power of Being Humble

In my professional life, I did not see the first-hand benefits of exhibiting a humble demeanor until I begin working criminal investigations and narcotics investigations. My first few interviews and interrogations were absolute train wrecks! I mean my supervisors, and the suspects, were looking at me like I was Hannibal Lecter. I was going on what I had been taught by previous supervisors and what I had seen in the media. I tried to berate and demean a confession out of these guys. Let me interject here that not listening to constructive criticism is a prideful mistake also. Finally, my Lieutenant at the time showed me mercy and sent me to a State Level Interviews and Interrogations class. About ten minutes into the class and I realized that I did not know anything about being humble or how people react to a spirit of humility. I was able to almost immediately, after the class, see a huge improvement in the quality and frequency of confessions during my interviews. I was able to, while abhorring their behavior, have empathy for the suspects and the given set of circumstances that led them to bad decisions. By showing dignity and respect to people I was able to connect to them and that was the key to many confessions. This is definitely not a parlor trick; you can't fake empathy or humility. It has to be genuine and I spent many nights on my knees praying for capacity to love the unlovable and to increase my depth of compassion for my fellow man. After several years, I returned to patrol duty and applied the lessons I had learned to everyday encounters with people on traffic stops, calls, and coffee breaks. As I was entrusted with more leadership roles, I then applied this to the people under my leadership and found that it was infectious. When everyone on a team acts in humility, the relationships are stronger and the team results skyrocket. In my opinion, this is the nucleus of leading by example. Am I perfect? NO! Do I stumble and have pride issues? EVERYDAY! There are days I am tested more than others and often I lose my battle with my tongue, but that is another article. One thing that I have learned is that owning your mistakes and asking for forgiveness when you wrong someone, especially a subordinate, will reap more rewards than you can imagine.

Being Humble Comes Home

I wish I could say that I had mastered being humble and that everything was perfect from this point. Unfortunately, if I am completely honest, for many years I was exhibiting humility in my professional life much more effectively than I ever was in my personal and spiritual life. The problem was that I thought I knew more than I did. A pretty consistent problem in my life by the way! Then by chance, I was working a midnight shift and listening to a Christian radio talk show when I heard and interview with an author. I am sure you have all experienced a time when you felt that a person, pastor, or speaker was picking on you. Well this guy seemed like he had been following me and recording my every move. He was speaking straight to my heart and I was honestly changed by his short interview. The author was Pastor David Jones and the book he was speaking about was Humble is the Way4). I ordered his book as soon as I got off work and read it cover to cover in one sitting. Pastor Jones had a way of explaining that my understanding of what I thought was pride was only scraping the surface. I begin to see that pride was infecting almost every aspect of my life and I was completely overlooking it. As I begin to make changes in my personal life in response to understanding what true humility was, I begin to see more meaningful relationships form for me and my family. Paths began to open up and I begin to witness the true favor of God. He adores a humble heart and He is not afraid to show it! This book had a profound impact on my understanding of humility and when I feel myself getting the old familiar invasion of pride beginning, I try to sit down and read the book again. We struggle with pride and being humble so much more than we have to. Just like any other battle, knowing you enemy is pivotal in winning the war. Because we are earthly flesh, we will always be attacked by pride, but through knowledge and grace from God it doesn't have to win.



Humble is the Way, by David Jones

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Humble is the Way, David Jones

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