A Humble Man Wouldn’t Say He’s Nobody

Another great insight from CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity.

We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity — as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble — delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life.

The idea that God wants to put us in our place by telling us to be humble is a funny one. Yet it does seem to make sense on a basic level. Well, the natural question here is: what does it really mean to be humble? I have a friend who is always putting himself down and saying that others are better than him at this and that. Is that what it means to be humble? Have a negative attitude, be the worst, have no self-confidence? C.S. Lewis continues.

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.

What a profound statement. I believe CS Lewis wrote these words over 50 years ago, yet they are still so relevant today. I think that many people, myself included, have initially had that wrong idea of what it means to be humble. The point is that a humble person isn’t anything like that. He would simply be a “cheerful, intelligent chap” who isn’t thinking about himself at all. There are people I know like this. I don’t notice that they’re humble until I think about it. And for those that appear to be very obviously humble– well, maybe they’re not.

2 Responses to “A Humble Man Wouldn’t Say He’s Nobody”

  1. katy says:

    I think Pastor Norbert is an example of a humble person. He is good to talk to.

  2. Roshini says:

    awesome! thank you so much for that…i was researching indeed what does it mean to be humble anyways?? this is a good way to start me thinking..and i agree with C.S..

    we are both proud and humble, probably moving back and forth at different times…it is good to have pride about oneself or one’s work…the trouble only happens when it gets out of hand…kinda like too much of anything.

    and ‘being humble’ triggers me, as if it is the noble, holy, better way to live–
    closer to god, closer to love….i say if one is too humble, than that’s a problem too.

    we must learn to love ourselves enough so we can love others too.
    when this happens i believe pride and ‘being humble’ can co exist and not fight anymore.

Leave a Reply