Bad news is good when grown in humility

| November 6, 2015 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Kevin McCarty
29th Brigade Engineer Battalion,
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division


Dan Allender is a noted Christian counselor, seminary president and author.

In his book, “Leading with a Limp,” he makes this comment:


“Humility comes from humiliation, not from the choice to be self-effacing or a strong urge to give others the credit” (p. 69).


Humility is one of the those character traits that we all know we should have, say we would like to have, and even work at trying to live out. But his point here is that real humility comes from difficult and/or embarrassing situations.

It comes from the kind of situations upon which we spend huge amounts of energy trying to avoid. It happens when we find ourselves in circumstances that will not allow us to avoid looking at just how inadequate, or even more so, how selfish we can be. It reveals things about us that are truly bad news.

No one likes to be confronted by the bad news of one’s failures or selfishness. Yet, we encounter them in nearly every area of our lives.

We encounter them in our workplaces, in our families, in our marriages and even sometimes with material things. For example, have you ever lost your temper at your computer?

We encounter them in just about every situation we can think of, but especially in those that involve human relationships. Life has an ironic way of continually revealing to us the things about ourselves that we most don’t want to see.

And it will always be this way. Learning humility is not one of those things that gets easier with time. Just when we think we’ve learned the lesson, some new humiliation pops up and surprises us all over again.

But it’s not the humiliation by itself that intimidates us. It’s also this assumption that the ugly truth revealed to us is the last word. It’s not.

This lie can tempt us to wallow in our inadequacy or become angry that the world will not allow us our selfishness. But we don’t learn humility by focusing on our failings and selfishness any more than we do by avoiding them.

Faith’s response is simple and rejuvenating.


“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:10.


Confession opens the door to forgiveness. After this comes our repentance, an effort to live differently.

This same pattern is what happens when we have the courage to confess how we have hurt our spouses. Confession admits wrongdoing. Our spouses then have the opportunity to let go of their hurt and accept us despite our failings.

As a result, we become more secure in our relationship and can respond with deeper, more meaningful expressions of love. A bad situation is redeemed, and in the end, the relationship is more secure and better than it was before.

This is how bad news is good. It becomes the first step in redeeming a situation that will not go away no matter how much we avoid it. It’s humbling, but it makes us – and our world around us – more beautiful than what we were before.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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