Humility and comments online
Advise to "reconcile" can only be yourself.
How to reconcile the Old Testament God, who rages the flames of fury on the offenders of widows and orphans, on rapists and robbers, with Christ advising to turn the second cheek to the one who hit you?
Given: a girl on the Internet complains that during the sacrament the priest rudely took her by the shoulders and removed her from the Chalice with the words "Man, follow you." Comment: "Finally, the woman was taught a lesson in humility."
The story itself with the girl and the priest is so familiar that even uninteresting. What is more interesting is when we are used to talking about humility.
It so happened that it is customary to judge humility in situations where the elder must "humble" the younger, the man – the woman, the father – the child. Such a context is so frequent that you might ask yourself: how else? We all read The Ladder, in which the abbot teaches the humility of the monks, as it should be.
What is humility? Humility is a virtue opposite to pride, an awareness of one’s position before God, a refusal to exalt oneself over other people.
First, like other virtues, humility is acquired by man on his own. A man must refuse to exalt himself over other people, from participating in an unauthorizedly built hierarchy “higher-lower”, remembering that before God all people are equal. In ascetic literature, in particular in the “Ladder”, we find many cases in which the monks in the monasteries used various “exercises” to help learn the humility of their wards and novices. But the perspicacious leaders knew their students, knew about the conditions of their souls and could calculate what impact on a monk’s soul would help him learn, and which would harden it. Moreover, a person who came to the monastery is ready for ascetic work and expects help from a mentor. Both participants in the process understand why they are doing what they are doing. Is such an “assistance” comparable with modern cases where a person openly humiliates a barely familiar other person? Hardly.
Secondly, for some reason we are used to talking about the humility of the younger before the older. But if humility is a refusal to exaltation, then why should the elder not humble themselves before the younger? Why is humility in a family context a humble wife who suffers violence and not a humble husband who fights with pride and learns to listen to his wife? Why is humility in the context of the Church – parishioners who humbly tolerate not always the appropriate behavior of priests, and not a priest who remembers his position before God and is afraid of sin? In other words, why not a strong man humbly protect his hand from a blow, and why a weak man humbly tolerate a blow?
It is worth paying attention to one more thing.
Since humility is a deeply personal matter, the person’s personal choice is in spiritual growth, how normal is the position of an outside observer, a conditional “commentator” who, not knowing anything about the other person’s spiritual life, advises him to “reconcile” or is glad that such a situation arose ?
We are all familiar with the "little man" of Russian literature. Do you want to advise him to “reconcile” from the position of the reader, or do we identify with the author, who sympathizes with the character?
Advise to "reconcile" can only be yourself. If you are not the spiritual mentor of the person who asked for mentorship. The position of a third party, observing from the side, is not suitable for this. And since, becoming an observer in a situation, a person becomes thereby its participant, he should follow his soul at the moment: is it more appropriate to advise “humility” or practice it yourself?
So, in any situation, there is a senior, junior and observer. We are used to imposing humility on the younger. But it seems that it is more appropriate for the “elder” and “observer” to recall this virtue.
I recall the dissatisfaction on the network when people began to talk en masse about their injuries and negative experiences, “whining and crying,” as idle commentators said. A man writes about abuser parents – and in response to him: “And you would have resigned yourself better, why would you even tell this.” No, he does well that he writes! It is good that the dark corners of the human hostel are becoming open – we, as observers, have the opportunity to practice humility in our role. Do not write “you’ll forgive and it will become easier” or “you need to humble yourself” to someone who we don’t know about the internal state, but to assume that a person equal to us before God can have thousands of different reasons to get rid of injury in this way. And we have the opportunity to show solidarity – or to remain silent.
It is good that situations are being highlighted today in which we have the opportunity to look at the same situation from different angles. On the same popular and fashionable resource, I read an interview with the following words: “there was one girl, we didn’t poison her, so we showed that we didn’t want to communicate with her, and sometimes we cheated”. And right there, by reference, it was possible to go to a compilation of interviews about the victims of the bullying themselves, those who “were not poisoned, but were sometimes reproached”.
This seems to be something quite natural – that each side has its own voice. But it was not always so.
More recently, it was difficult to imagine how some “Scarecrow” would tell in detail about his humiliations – after all, the hierarchy is structured so that those who are at its bottom are most painfully ashamed of themselves and their position. The openness, turned inside out (that which is better expressed by the English word transparency) of the hierarchy, which is achieved by the fact that each of its participants receives the right to speak, allows this shame to be removed. If you managed to read Oliver Twist as a child and several interviews with your peers who were hounded in your teens, it will be harder for you to believe that you are being bullied simply because you are “bad” or “miserable”. And it will become a little more obvious to you that any humiliation is just an ancient mechanism inherent in the team. If you looked at "Scarecrow" as a child, and then read several interviews with girls of your age on a fashionable resource in the same situation as you, you begin to trace some patterns. You begin to see yourself as if from the outside, as well as your offenders – and you recognize evil not in yourself and not in them, but in the very mechanism of aggression.
Is this not a step from resentment, fear, hatred and demonization of others – to humility?
So there is no contradiction between the God of the Old Testament, who hates violence, and Christ, who commands meekness. The meekness of the strong in relation to the weak does not allow the violence that God hates to happen. The meekness of the observer does not allow adding to the wounds of the weak with his rash advice. The meekness of the weak contributes to his spiritual growth – but this is not our business, but the work of him and his spiritual mentor.
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