Today, as I read the Bible, I meditated on the story of Moses.
Several things struck me about the way his life went, and how the things that happened to him turned him from a proud and arrogant man to a humble man.
His story joins that of other bible characters and presents us with a method common to all of them, by which to stop being proud.
The story of Moses is that of a man whose life was privileged from the beginning with being a prince of Egypt.
A Hebrew man, receiving the best education available and with the most refined skills that could be acquired at that time.
This man, seeing the injustices that the Egyptians committed against his people, the people of Israel; thought of himself being able to deliver them from their oppression.
When in fact he wasn’t qualified for it yet.
He demonstrated this by letting himself be carried away by anger and killing an Egyptian in cold blood to defend an Israelite.
So far, the story doesn’t seem to have much to do with humility.
However, what happens next is what reveals to us how you and I can stop being proud.
That same man then has to leave that privileged position, flee to save his life, and become a mere sheepherder.
No longer under the tutorship and protection of pharaoh, but under the tutorship of an ordinary person named Jethro, his father-in-law.
No longer in Egyptian academies with the most recognized human teachers, but now in the desert between ordinary people and “clumsy” animals.
Life had taken a very big turn for Moses.
He had gone from being a prince of the most powerful nation on earth, who thought he would be able to liberate the people of Israel by his own hand, to being a humble shepherd.
At a certain point in history, Moses meets God.
At that moment, God asks him to do what he had previously thought of doing on his own.
Free the people of Israel.
However, Moses’ response to God’s request shows us that something had changed in him:
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Exodus 3: 11-12
He who before, as a prince, had thought to have the capacity to set free his people with his own hand, now asked who he himself was to do such a thing.
The illusory superiority had vanished.
Moses had ceased to be proud.
And God’s answer is not a focused response on raising Moses’ ego, as if God had worried about possible self-esteem problems.
God’s answer is “it’s not about you, it’s about me, I’ll be with you.”
These days I was remembering, thanks to the recommendations of YouTube, a concept in psychology called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias according to which individuals with little ability or knowledge suffer from a feeling of illusory superiority, considering themselves more intelligent than other more prepared people, incorrectly measuring their ability above the real thing.
This bias is explained by a metacognitive inability of the subject to recognize their own ineptitude.
Overvaluing our abilities and developing illusory superiority is transversal to all human beings in different ways.
However, some of us manifest it in more obvious ways than other people or suffer from it in a more acute way from causes that vary from person to person.
In short, the less we know about something, the more we tend to oversimplify it since we don’t know its depth.
That makes us think that the knowledge or capacity we have is comparatively greater than that of others.
When in fact it is not.
It’s actually quite common.
The remedy God used both for the pride of Moses, and for several other characters in the Bible, was to allow life to teach them, with its hardness, through humble labors and positions; that it is not about what they can do on their own, given an illusory exceptional ability or position.
It is about what God can do through them by teaching, guiding, and training them, if they humbly submit to His will.
If we want to be more humble, we must make peace with our ignorance and be willing to accept the opportunities that God and life present to us, to learn in simplicity and anonymity that we are not all that we think we are.
Purpose ourselves to understand that despite this, if God is with us, we can develop our character and capabilities in a healthy way and make a difference that honors God and serves to improve the lives of others on this earth and for eternity.
Give yourself the opportunity to accept your ignorance and incompetence, we all have them.
Give yourself the opportunity to do those things that you think you’re overqualified for or don’t correspond to your position.
Set aside your prince status for a moment and occasionally become a humble sheepherder.
That will help you keep the right perspective on who you really are, what you can really do; before God and life have to teach you that lesson on their own.
What do you think? Would you like to stop being proud or proud? What is your experience? Share in the comments.
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A hug, God bless you.