There’s a particularly tense scene in the film The Philadelphia Story where Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant are discussing their failed marriage. She jabs at him for his alcoholism, and he then turns to Jimmy Stewart (the unwilling, uncomfortable third party in this exchange) and speaks a barb I’ve never forgotten:
“[S]trength is her religion, Mr. Connor. She finds human imperfection unforgiveable.”
I remember this line so perfectly because this vice is the one closest to my heart. The thing about this type of pride–lack of forgiveness for other humans–is that it is so completely anti-God. Consider this parable Jesus spoke in Matthew 18 (vs. 23-35):
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
…one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents…his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
…Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
…So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
There are times that I have been like this servant, taking those I suppose have wronged me by the throat and demanding penance. But in this hymn, the author’s simple advice will heal us, all: be thou humble.
Be humble in thy weakness. Acknowledge your weaknesses before Him and don’t pretend to yourself that they are strengths.
Be humble in thy pleading. Pray and ask, but be ready to hear and accept the Lord’s response. He will give you assurance in the path He directs.
Be humble in thy calling. The Lord will guide you how to best serve His children in humility and love.
Be humble in thy longing. Endure to the end and the Lord, in time, will lead you home.