Humility: The Key to Drawing Close to Other People

Aug 20, 2021 | Articles, Passing Musings

By Amber Kinloch

Recently, I attended a talk by Dawn Beutner, author of the excellent book Saints.  In her talk, she mentioned Veronica Guiliani, an Italian mystic.

Veronica was extremely devout from a young age.  But, as Dawn pointed out, it can be aggravating living with a saint.  Such was the case with Veronica, who was inclined to be dictatorial towards those who did not join in her religious practices.

One day, Veronica had a vision of her “devout” heart as a heart of steel.  Ouch.  What a rebuke.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  I attended a different talk by a religious brother.  He was speaking about the four Greek loves when he mentioned the idea of “aggressive humility.”

Imagine that a loved one of yours is walking down a bad path.  Your natural inclination, perhaps, is to say to them, “Look, this isn’t a good thing.  You’ve got to stop it.  Can’t you see the trouble you’re landing in?”  The problem is you might just push the person away.

Brother Seraphim said the trick is to stand with the person and to start out by presuming that you’ve misunderstood something (i.e. aggressive humility).  In other words, you give them a chance.

Imagine you’ve had an argument with someone.  Instead of accusing them, take a deep breath and say, “You know, I think I’ve misunderstood something here.  Would you explain your position on ___ again?”  And then listen.

Or say someone is growing slack spiritually.  Instead of telling them to shape up, you might remark on how they seem busy of late, and ask if you can do something for them so that they can have more time with God.

As Dawn and Brother Seraphim illustrated, humility is key for drawing close to people.  Pride perches us on a lonely pillar above others.  Humility sets us on level ground beside them where we can hold their hand.

Amber Kinloch

Amber Kinloch

Amber  writes from the bunker of her living room.  There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life.  Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.


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