Saturday, August 30, 2008


If a person does something well (like make bread, or sew a dress, or play trumpet) and recognizes his/her own skill, and appreciates the results (such as beautiful taste/clothing/music/etc), does that indicate a lack of humility? Is it possible to be pleased with something you have done and even compliment your own work, with no more pride or self-congratulations than if you were complimenting your sister or your neighbor or your pal on something nice they had accomplished?

This musing came about when I realized I had just commented on the stupendous taste of something I'd made, ... and then realized that such a comment must sound pretty self-promoting and arrogant to other people.


  1. I think it is important to recognize the excellence of something that you have done. It is the same as recognizing what others do well.

    It is so ingrained in us not to be proud, not to brag, to be humble, but I think we can go too far. Especially when we can't accept a compliment without making the giver feel awkward. Refusal to recognize our strengths often makes us sound falsely humble. (Worse, of course, is calling ourselves humble like a certain politician who strikes me as anything but!)

    I'm glad you could comment on the stupendous taste of something you made!

  2. I think, in that case, humility is announcing, "Wow! This (whatever I made) is really good!" The first time.

    The fifteenth time, it's pride, in the negative sense.

    It is not lack of humility to be proud of what you can do, and do well. It is lack of humility to believe that it's all because of your own efforts or talents, and not in their Giver, or in those who, through the years, helped develop them in you.

  3. Melody, you make a good point. Genuine pleasure over what you've just done comes off differently than the same words that seem to be requesting a pat on the back.

    Jane, you mention a politician, but we have a family story about a formal speech we heard where the girl was telling the other homeschooled kids how to be as humble as she was, and how they could really be more godly if they worked as hard as she did at humility. We still laugh about that. I suppose it's mean of us, but we still find it really humorous.