I recently travelled to the Middle East to meet some long-term contact’s and observe what God is doing in that part of the world. While being there, it all felt too good. I saw the beauty of the land, the lovely people, the beautiful landscape (I didn’t expect the mountains!), the wonderful hospitality and the delicious food.
Amongst the horrors that have gone on in that part of the world, you’d think contrary to a life of joy and living going on, but, there is.
The country I was visiting has more than twenty established refugee camps and they have opened their land to receive people fleeing from regions of Kurdistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and more. In the midst of threat to their own borders, they have been extending help to literally thousands. I visited some of these camps, meeting a wide variety of people from NGO workers, to Christian organizations, to camp managers, to individuals called there for a season, and families from other parts of the world who have planted themselves to serve there.
As we met people, I was astounded at the differences between everyone working; Christians helping Yazidis, Yazidis working with agnostics and atheists, Kurds helping Arabs, and Syrians; It’s messy, it’s complex, it’s a recipe for disaster really. Each night when I got back to wifi, I would look up a list of people groups I had made note of in my phone, trying to understand their history and what side of which conflict they were on.
What I witnessed in my short, and admittedly rose coloured glasses visit was where things were going well, there was a deep humility present. There is so much to do there and it would be foolish to try to do it alone.
Everyone had to find a way to work together and being humble was the only way things were going to get accomplished.
It was important that people knew what they believed in and knew what they could compromise so they could accomplish the real goal– loving people well. Of course, there were still problems but where problems were minimal I observed was because humility was being exercised.
Since being back I’ve realized even after years of receiving teaching, this trip solidified a new understanding of humility I haven’t had yet. Reflecting on my own journey, I’m seeing that in whatever scale of life– working in refugee camps that contain 250,000 displaced people or navigating my beautiful relationship circle, things don’t work without humility being present. When pride creeps in, things rightfully start to fall apart. Humility helps me stretch my worldview and set aside my preferences because I see the person in front of me as worth it. It also helps me admit when I’m wrong.
A close friend of mine always says that when you mess up, you get the chance to be humble. This trip helped me see the absolute gift to relationship humility is and just how essential it is, in the way forward for all relationships.
No relationship has to reach an impasse that humility or repentance and even forgiveness can’t overcome. We are never without hope.
It says in Philippians that even Jesus humbled himself to be obedient to sacrifice himself on the cross, Jesus saw us as worth it and put himself aside. God has given us this to help us set aside our differences in order to look out for the interests of others, helping us get big things done and love people well. For me, it will likely look like an increase of vulnerable conversations, admitting when I am wrong, and choosing to let go of my preferences and move towards people when it’s more comfortable to hold onto my ‘rights’ to only create distance. I’m convinced though that more humility will only bear the fruit of endless love.
My prayer? Well, it’s simple– would, I learn to use this gift of humility more courageously.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
YWAM Newcastle Staff