As Christmas approaches, we are likely to be receiving, as well as giving, many gifts, kind words, and gentle actions. Often times, a seemingly humble heart tells us that we definitely do not deserve these gifts. And according to culture and our humanity- filled thinking, voicing that fact is vital. However, upon speaking those words, we are actually hindering the true spirit of humility from shining forth.
By saying that we are so unworthy of gifts, praise, and kind comments, we walk a dangerous line of cultivating pride, self-centeredness, and false humility. We may not intentionally be harboring these seeds within our hearts, but we often times mask the small roots by our elaborate and denying thoughts and words. Our words are direct reflections of our hearts. What comes from our mouths must first be bred within our hearts. Therefore, we should strive to let God fill and change our hearts into pure ones so that our words may also represent that of purity.
As our mouths speak phrases such as “I do not deserve such a gift” or “I should be the one thanking you,” we are instantly directing the conversation right back to ourselves. Instead of simply accepting the giver’s words or gifts, we feel obligated to inform the giver about our short comings. We direct the conversation from their heart-felt praise or giving to what we think about ourselves. This not only brings us to a self-centered attitude, but it also can make the givers themselves feel unworthy or unknowledgeable in their kind-hearted actions.
However, it may not even stop there; this snow ball may keep rolling and building. Pretty soon, our self-centeredness in these responses can build into a feeling of pride. Or, these responses may very well be the result of pride. Our seemingly humble responses direct the conversation back to ourselves and away from the very change that has made us who we are, God. What we say about ourselves becomes more important than what we have said or should say about God. Upon the build up of this self-centered pride, we then become people displaying none other than false humility. This is a very dangerous place to be in because it often blinds us to our pride and our self-centeredness. It becomes even more dangerous because the surrounding community often fails to catch and confront us with this false humility. In their eyes, our long, drawn out responses appear to be humbler than the person that just speaks a simple ‘thank you.’
Do not be deceived. If one’s heart is truly filled with humility, with heart-felt gratitude, with love for others, it would seek to be a blessing to others with its words. And the best way to do this, when receiving gifts or praise or anything that we feel we do not deserve, is to simply say ‘thank you.’ We should not focus on our own unworthiness, our own faults, or our own mistakes. We should simply have a heart that is focused on God, one that has no other words to say except ‘thank you.’ We should not focus on our pride and fall into the trap of displaying a false humility to those around us. We should instead step forward and contradict the rules of culture. We should be filled with simplicity, with love, with appreciation; all of which is voiced with a simple ‘thank you.’
Even more so, we are worthy. We were made worthy. The gifts we receive this Christmas season are nothing in comparison to the gift given to us from the ultimate Giver. Because we have received His gift, we are all cleaned and made worthy. One of my dear friends pointed this fact out the best in her heart-felt blog post.
However, I would like to add a disclaimer here. There will be times when an extended ‘thank you’ is proper, and even necessary, in order to let the gift-giver know that their gift or comment is truly appreciated. But, the key here is that the ‘thank you’ itself should be extended, not that we should turn around and focus the conversation on ourselves. Secondly, our thank yous to our Lord and Savior may very well be tear-filled and full with thoughts of unworthiness, as it is indeed true. But, in most situations, a simple ‘thank you’ holds more weight and value than all the words one can muster up to describe one’s gratitude.
Therefore, I challenge each and every one of you to step up and greet this Christmas season with true humility. To seek to bless the givers with your words, to let your words of thanks pour from a humble heart, and to not be afraid to simply say ‘thank you.’