SHOWING HUMILITY IN TWO WORDS
By GRACE SOSA
This summer, I had the privilege of taking my first class at Logsdon Seminary. Our Preaching from the Old Testament course was full of students from Kenya, India, Haiti, and Ethiopia. We also had American students who were Hispanic, African American, and white.
This is not a novelty at Logsdon. My school is blessed to have students from all over the world who have come to Abilene to prepare for ministry. I value their voices, perspectives, and personalities. Each of these came through as I listened to them share a sermon with our class.
After each student preached a sermon, the class had the opportunity to give encouragement and critiques to the preacher. We noticed that one of our international students used the phrases “for me” or “to me” frequently. A few students suggested that these phrases made the pastor sound unsure about his sermon, but most of us valued the humility he brought to his message.
With just two words, he said to us, “I have studied this for many hours and consulted many commentaries, but I do not have the final word on this passage. This is just how God is speaking to me. God may be speaking to you in a different way.” Or at least, that’s how I interpreted it.
Since this moment in class, I have noticed phrases like this from many international students I know. It’s often a caveat to an otherwise declarative sentence: “This is the best soda—to me.” “For me, the president should do this.”
Although these constructions are common in English, I have not heard them as often from my American counterparts. We state our opinions as facts. “This is the best candy.” “This politician should do this.” Such a small part of our speech might not seem significant, but for me, words make all the difference. They shape our thinking and our actions.
I wonder what would happen in our religious and political discourse if people recognized the importance of “for me.” In the extra second it takes to speak those words, would we consider if our words are kind, uplifting, and Christlike? Perhaps we would realize that not everyone has the same opinions as we do, and we can have civil discussions anyway. If nothing else, I hope these words create in us a kind of humility when we state our thoughts and beliefs.
Amid the famed love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13:12 reads, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” This verse didn’t always make sense to me. “Only a reflection” seems pretty clear to me. But on a Logsdon trip to Greece, our tour guide showed us a mirror from the time of Paul. Even before oxidation corroded the surface, the bronze mirror would have been nowhere as reflective as our mirrors today.
In this world, we know some facets of God through Scripture, Jesus’ ministry, and the work of the Holy Spirit, but we will not truly know God until we see him face to face. We see a dim reflection of truth, but we will not know it clearly on this side of heaven. Whether we are preparing sermons, eating dinner with the in-laws, or scrolling through Facebook, may we remember that on this earth, we only know in part. In a world that is becoming more and more divided, may we have the humility to admit that we do not know everything, trusting only in the One who does.
Grace Sosa, a 2019 graduate of Hardini-Simmons University, is working toward a master of divnity at Logsdon Seminary.