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hope for churches in stress

Small Footprint

C.S. Lewis writes that pride “is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty of themselves.”

As a corrective to pride, the Bible calls us to be humble.

This is only possible by action of the Holy Spirit. But we can do something: we can practice humility (Col. 3:12; Jam. 3:13; 1 Pet. 5:5).

One way is to make a "smaller footprint.” Like computer engineers who design a desktop display that occupies less space, we can reduce the footprint of our ascendant ego by directing attention to others.

In roles that require visibility, we can highlight shared endeavors. We can recognize partners on the team. By keeping the focus elsewhere, we can “hide in plain sight.”

We can “work the perimeter” of the community. People at the heart of a group are recognized and honored. Some at the perimeter are overlooked. By taking a interest in the outliers, we confer value on everyone in the group.

When criticized, we can "be patient and gentle" (Eph. 4:2). “It is good,” Thomas á Kempis writes, “that men think ill of us and misjudge us, even when we do and mean well. . . [for] we more readily turn to God as our inward witness.”

The battle against pride is unrelenting. But skirmishes are won by the intentional, day-to-day practice of humility.

quotes by C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 3, Chapter 8

and Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book One, Chapter 12

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