There are various virtues that a Christian needs to gain during his earthly life. But there is not a single virtue that man needs so much as humility.
Reverend Paisius the Sacred Prince has approximately such words: if the Lord at the moment of your death finds you in humility, then He will speak with you, and if he finds you not in humility, then there will be no conversation. And the Reverend Isaac the Syrian teaches: Which do not have humility, do not save, and humility can save even in the absence of deeds. And this only further confirms us that humility is that precious stone, the diamond that shines brighter than any other stone in the crown that is prepared in heaven for the loving God.
But we are not talking about the beauty of humility, but about those lessons that enable us to learn it, which life itself offers us, or rather, through our lives the Lord Himself offers us.
We came in nude - we will leave in nude
When a person - at confession or at some other time - says: "Father, I understand that humility is necessary, but I do not understand how to acquire it, how to learn it, so that I have nothing in this respect that does not move from the dead point, "I believe that at this moment he is cunning with himself. If someone, for example, said that he did not know how to learn how to fly, it would be understandable. People are not created to fly like birds, we do not have wings and the necessary functions for this, so, really, we can end up in a dead end trying to get such an experience. But if we talk about humility, it is perfectly natural for the soul of a person striving for God, and exercises in it are offered to us in everyday life, as soon as we begin to realize ourselves in childhood.
And maybe even earlier? Personally, I am convinced that the very first lesson of humility for a person is his birth. Each of us is born into this world, finds the gift of being absolutely not of his own will. And before we reconcile with anything in this life, we need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we were born. To accept and learn to thank God for this, who, having called us from non-being to being, gave us thereby the possibility of living with Him.
It is also not accidental that a person is born into this world defenseless - much weaker and more vulnerable than the cubs of many other living beings. And it's worth thinking about this: once either of us was neither strong nor strong, but was completely dependent on those who courted him, and without their care would be lost. But as a person grows up, he has a huge amount of skills that define his entire life and which, as sometimes seems to him, is himself. And along with these skills, achievements, position in society, there is often a great conceit. And then it is especially useful to remember your early childhood: to look at the pictures from which the swaddled baby is looking at us, and this is ourselves, and to feel that in fact it is not we who represented something great and represent ourselves, but the Lord did not and did not leave leaves us with His mercy.
The school of humility is for the person and the school as such, and in general any study. We are starting to do something, and this is not at first brilliant. And we have to accept that we are still beginners, and we will become masters, with sufficient zeal, only after a while. Personally for me, the most vivid memory of this kind is the way I first saw the prescription in my childhood. I understood that people write to learn and they have it in almost a hundred percent of cases it turns out, but at the same time I was convinced that I would never learn all these intricate scribbles accurately. Now this is a wonderful thing to remember, but, nevertheless, it also somehow humbles.
But even if a person has already achieved much in the social and professional terms, if he is already in adulthood, the Lord still does not leave him with His mercy and gives the opportunity to follow the saving way of humility. We know that, no matter how high a person may achieve, no matter what rank he is the leader, there will still be someone who is the boss over him. And the person necessarily feels it: he has to bow down before someone, get comments and complaints, depend on someone to make decisions on working issues, even if he does not want to depend on him at all. In addition, usually the older one becomes any of us - and, accordingly, his position in the everyday and professional sphere becomes more predominant, independent - the more embarrassing factor of illness enters into his life. And if the person still has a choice in relations with the authorities and he is ready to give up both the material situation and the position, if only to get rid of the need to obey, then it will not be possible to agree with the disease in any way. And if it pleases God that we accept the state of the disease, then, no matter how treated, whatever you do, you will not be completely cured.
Live with the understanding that we are naked in the world came and nude leave - a very important step towards humility
In general, a believing person, a Christian who lives thoughtfully, can not help but humble himself before God, seeing how little he succeeds in succeeding - if at all succeeds - in working on his soul. And if we take it even deeper, we should feel that we very often find ourselves completely alien to God. We recognize this when we feel inner dryness, when we feel that there is absolutely no love in us, there is no compassion that our soul is barren and empty. And all this, as a rule, is the result of vanity and pride, which closes our heart from the action of Divine grace. Sometimes a person stands only for a moment to become proud - and he no longer feels God as he felt before. And if such a state in us lasts, this is the reason to seriously reconsider our life and find in what we are so not humble, that God, by the word of the Holy Scripture, resists (see: James 4: 6; 1 Pet. 5: 5).
But, of course, the strongest, most powerful resigning factor for man is the inevitability of the end of the earthly path. There will come a time when, whether we want it or not, we will have to leave all the affairs, leave everything that was dear to us here, which seemed to be an integral part of our life - and go where God calls us. To live with the understanding that we are naked in this world came and go naked, and not be afraid, not to resist, not to close from this given - means to take a very important step towards humility. Realizing that, no matter how we hold on to something in life, we still have to let it go, a person finally begins to give God the opportunity to save himself. And if a person defends before God all his life the right to live as he wants, and not to change, at the end of life, when all this reveals himself to be something insignificant, he may find himself in a very difficult internal state. And the bitterest in this is the perfectly clear understanding that if we had yielded to God if we had not grasped the deadly grip of some of our worldly weaknesses, some elements of comfort, somehow not good relations with people, the Lord would certainly give us in exchange something completely different - something that in fact would be the greatest jewel. And in fact, it is not necessary, of course, to wait for death, so that it will finally humiliate us, - you can just think about all this more often, and it will humble.
I will not accept for anything!
Sometimes, when talking about someone talking about humility, I recall one of the stories about my beloved Hodja Nasreddin. Once a neighbor's ox trampled on his land crops. Of course, he chased the villain, but he ran away. And after a while Khoja Nasreddin walked along the street and met a neighbor who was driving this bull somewhere. Without thinking twice, the hero grabbed a cudgel and started to look after the bull. The neighbor asks: "Are you out of your mind? What do you do? "And Khoja says:" You do not understand what I'm doing, and he - understands: you see how he hung his head! "Of course, it is very doubtful that the bull, being beaten on the head with a cudgel, understands what he was guilty of . But an amazing thing: animals under the influence of insurmountable external factors really resign themselves. Even wild animals, for example, are ill, do not attack a person, but allow themselves to be treated. Or if the dog is closed in an enclosure, it will not be rushed indefinitely on the grate of this enclosure: it will get bored and it will settle into its place. And only man is a being that often does not lead to humility any external factors that are able to resist the obviously necessary, even when the situation has already been brought to the point of absurdity.
There is in the stories of Metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkov) such an episode: once he, being still a hieromonk, with the blessing of a confessor took to his care a disabled person. This man - his name, it seems, Ivan - lost his hands as a result of the accident at work, that is, he was completely helpless in his life. But at the same time he possessed the heaviest character, which did not at all soften his position. And for Metropolitan Veniamin to share the shelter with such a ward was, of course, a feat: he led the quiet life of the academy teacher before, and now he was awaiting abuse at home, complaints, claims. Brief periods of calm came only when he brought this man to the confessor: in his presence, the rebel calmed down. And I remember very much how the old man kindly spoke to this disabled person: "Well, you ... Look how the Lord humilates you, and you do not reconcile everything." And many of us, in suffering circumstances, misfortunes, I think, could say to themselves something like this: we have already disfigured ourselves with our sins in such a way that they are absolutely immobilized - and still we are still arguing, scandalous, demanding special privileges . And the Lord in the meantime is looking for us at least some reason to show His mercy. By the way, the story with Ivan ended, by the grace of God and by the humility of Bishop Benjamin, quite happily: this man unexpectedly ... got married. That's right: he met a girl who fell in love with him and looked after him all his life - and with it he no longer cursed: the miracle of meeting with a loving woman humbled him. As for us with you, probably, we should not expect from God some miracles - it is much more important not to wait for those radical circumstances that the Lord sometimes sends those who do not want to reconcile in any way.
"Stand on your own" and "stand on your due"
Sometimes a person, trying to perceive life as a school of humility, comes to the idea that the essence of all these lessons is one: never insist on one's own. But it is not so. On the one hand, the whole experience of our life shows that we often show obstinacy, believing this to be the only true one, and as a result everything seems to be like our way, but it's bad. And sometimes we, on the contrary, concede - and in the end, contrary to our expectations, everything is at least as good as if we insisted on our own. And this seems not so much everyday, as spiritual spirituality.
Sometimes humility consists precisely in trying to achieve a consonant with common sense
On the other hand, humility as a spiritual quality does not mean unconditional concessions to everyone and everything. Sometimes humility is just the same in order to achieve a consonant with common sense. And it often happens in situations where it would be much more comfortable for us to concede - there would be no conflict, there would not be any difficult circumstances for us, but our reason and conscience require that we insist. And in this case we have to reconcile not with the essence, but with consequences: with the fact that our interests can suffer or even we can suffer ourselves.
"To insist on one's own" and "to insist on due" - in appearance it is almost the same, but the internal difference between these concepts is colossal. Two people can talk about the same things, but one will be dictated by stubbornness and passion, while the other will have a duty and honesty. The whole question is what's in the heart of a person.
Naturally, the question may arise: how can one distinguish between "proper" and "one's own"? The answer is very brief: only a skill. To acquire it, it is important to take the habit of conceding and resigning to what is desirable for us, but is not necessary. There are such situations: they do not solve anything fundamental in principle, we just want it so, and the other person wants otherwise. If we notice these episodes in our life and if we use each of them as an exercise, then in a situation where a scythe found on a stone about something in a really meaningful life, we will have the wisdom not to dive into this dispute head-on, as in a pool, and try to separate your personal desire from what is objective. And it is likely that we will succeed - and we will either find the strength to abandon what we would like to insist on, if this is our subjective belief, or we will not find these forces within ourselves, but we will clearly understand that we are acting in this moment is pride and vanity.
While studying humility, it is important to remember: the main work here is not ours, the main work here is God's
And if you can not give in even in those things that you can completely give in? Here it is necessary to remember that the internal increase in anything happens in stages. At first a person learns at least by remembering this situation, to understand that he could accept and nothing terrible would happen. Then he begins to see this alternative directly during a conversation, a dispute, although it can still do as before. Then comes the first - and perhaps not at all pleasant - experience of giving up something desirable, but not essential in favor of another person. And then everything becomes much easier. The only thing in this process is that you can not stop at all, because as soon as you have changed in something for the better and then start yourself up, it all starts again and you have to start all over again, unfortunately.
But in situations when it comes to common sense, to appeal to which is quite natural and appropriate, sometimes you have to reconcile yourself. It is important to understand here: up to some point, to insist on something, to try to change something - in our power, in our power, and after - no longer. There is a door that is locked and we still try to get through, but there is a wall that can not be pierced, you can only break it yourself. And you can not afford to be killed on this wall, on this task you can break, as well as later, when we realized that we could not cope with the wall, and eat it and destroy it internally for it. We need to internally reconcile and understand that this also has some sense, because without sense the Lord does nothing in our life. And by the way, in such cases, again, sometimes a miracle happens: you humble yourself - and there is no wall, it disappeared.
Desiring to learn humility in any current circumstances, it is very important to remember: the main work here is not ours, the main work here is God's. The Lord is absolutely everything for us to accept, to do with us in this life, and our duty is only to respond to those calls for humility, which constantly from God's side sound to us. And to understand that the more we reconcile, the more we bow to the good yoke of God's will, the easier it will be for us to live - the more joyful, the brighter our life will be. And the most important is that we will not become weaker, not powerless, but will become much stronger, much more courageous and much more useful to bring to those who surround us in life.