A simple humility test. Take it if you dare.

April 15, 2024

Humility is “the mother and mistress of all the virtues”, according to the early church father John Cassian. Makes me wonder…if humility is all that important, just how much of it do I possess?

Humility is in short supply. “Hubris and babble permeate the very air we breathe today”, suggests Richard Foster in his new book Learning Humility: a Year of Searching for a Vanishing Virtue. He goes on to observe that we are “witnessing a shrinking moral vocabulary in public life.” It is this book that got me wondering how much this decline in moral knowledge and practice has affected me. Do I possess the “mother of all virtues”? Which defines me more…hubris or humility?

Here’s a simple test…six questions…taken from Foster’s book, for you and me to gauge just how unpretentious, down-to-earth and modest we really are.

Am I free from the need to control? Do I have to protect my reputation? Do I need to make people admire me? Do I need to put others down to make myself look better? Do I need to always set others straight?

Am I joyful? How often am I frustrated that life doesn’t go my way? Am I genuinely glad when others are successful? Am I able to accept life’s vagaries? Am I constantly aggrieved?

Am I welcoming? Do I fully enjoy the presence of others? Do I need to impress or show off? Can I invite others into my life without an agenda?

Do I babble? Do I exaggerate frequently? Do I use a lot of hyperbole? Am I a person of few words or lots of words? Do I embellish things?

Am I enjoyable to be around? Am I winsome? Am I fun to be around? Do I listen to others? Am I boastful and proud?

Am I high maintenance? Am I down to earth? Am I an everyday hard worker? Am I unpretentious?

 So…how’d you do? Better yet would be to give our closest friends those six questions and ask them to assess us. Yikes! That could be rough! C. S. Lewis is right when he said, “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud.”

Wouldn’t it be something if being humble started trending?


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