IMHO – Really?
If you’ve ventured into the brave new world of texting or blogging, you’ve no doubt noticed the proliferation of abbreviations such as LOL, ROFL and TTYL. I don’t use them on principle. As a writer, I prefer the old fashioned value of a well-crafted sentence, complete with whole words, correctly spelled. I have also received specific instructions from my daughter not to do it, probably because I’m over 50. Occasionally I slip and sneak in IMHO when commenting on other people’s posts.
It means “in my humble opinion” and when people use it, including myself, I always wonder about the humble part. Perhaps adding the H to IMO (in my opinion) helps lessen the sting of what could be perceived as criticism.
Because humility is often seen as weakness and an attitude that won’t get anyone ahead in this world, arrogance is desired and even applauded. Humility and meekness are traits of servants and pastors, not business people and certainly not politicians. Anyone displaying humility is quickly dismissed by more savvy folks.
In his book, Hearing God, Dallas Willard gives his “fail-safe recipe” for achieving humility: don’t pretend to be what you are not; don’t presume a favorable position for yourself in any respect; and don’t push or try to override the will of others. He says try it for a month – money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work. Money-back guarantee? Maybe not, but the advice is definitely sound.
The opposite of each of these ingredients in Willard’s recipe is rampant in society today. How many of us pretend to be what we are not, at least some of the time? People have always misrepresented themselves, and it’s getting worse because of the anonymity of the Internet.
Jockeying for the best position – isn’t that what makes the world go around? Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for continually seeking the best places for themselves. Even the mother of the Zebedee boys got in on the act, asking if her sons could be at the top, next to Jesus in his kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21).
As for the last point, the world is full of those who manipulate, control and override the will of others.
I can’t even imagine a world where humility is the rule of the day rather than arrogance and entitlement. How refreshing to be around honest, genuine people and not wonder if they are merely presenting a façade to get something from you.
Jesus had something to say about presuming a favorable position, didn’t he? It’s always better to take the lower place and be promoted than to take the first place and be demoted. Besides making you feel better, you avoid hurt feelings and looking stupid.
Paul said in Philippians 2 that we should have the same attitude as Jesus and value others above ourselves, with a servant-like attitude toward everyone. What a contrast to the prevalent me-first attitude. The New Testament is full of “one another” statements, like 1 Peter 3:8: “Finally, all of you, be likeminded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (NIV).
We often fear humility because it seems we will lessen or lose ourselves. We fear if we don’t funnel attention to ourselves, no one will notice us. But in Christ, we don’t need to fear humility. In him, we are more ourselves, more who we are and never less. Through his greatness and lowliness, we are complete. And that’s not just IMHO, it’s the truth.