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God’s love will always break out of the restrictions we try to place on it. For those of us in positions of spiritual leadership, this is a particularly important message to remember. It’s a reminder to be humble, both in what we say about God and in the kindness we show others. In light of some of the recent proclamations by the Archbishop of Sydney, this is especially important to remember.

All of the students here at Saints will do the VIA Character Strengths survey at some point. It’s a survey put out by the University of Pennsylvania, in the United States. The survey helps you work out what your particular strengths are. Twenty-four strengths are listed overall: kindness, love and the capacity to be loved, forgiveness, open-mindedness, spirituality, hope, sense of humour, perseverance, teamwork and so on.

Humility is one of them.

Humility was a quality much prized by Jesus. In fact, if you do an analysis of Jesus’ interactions with people, the only people he ever really got cross with were those who showed a complete lack of humility, along with a lack of kindness and forgiveness. He was remarkably accepting of people who recognised their own shortcomings, who realised that they needed forgiveness, who were humble in other words. In one particularly powerful parable (Luke 18: 9–14) Jesus tells a story about two people who go to pray in the temple: an arrogant Pharisee who thinks he is perfect, and a humble tax collector, who knows he is not. The humble tax collector, who knows his own shortcomings, is the person praised by Jesus.

True humility is about recognising that life is not all about you. Humility is not about denying that you’re good at something – that’s false humility. True humility is about being aware of the gifts God has given you and using them. It is not trying to be something that you’re not. It is not trying to make it all about you. It’s about accepting who you are, who God has made you to be, and excelling at that!

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain