Why Is Humility Seen as Weakness?

The world does not equate humility with strength, but that does not mean it is a weakness. The world views humility as a weakness because the culture is very much caught up in pride, self-honor, and fame. Instead of taking this attitude, believers need to practice humility.

Contributing Writer
Updated Sep 07, 2021
Why Is Humility Seen as Weakness?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines humility as “freedom from pride or arrogance: the quality or state of being humble.” In the 21st century, humility has been deemed as a witness. However, the Bible tells us humility should not be seen as a weakness. In fact, humility is a great strength and a godly quality each believer should cultivate in their own life.

Is Humility a Weakness?

Humility is not a weakness at all. Humility can be seen as a weakness in modern-day society because our culture teaches us to be prideful, overconfident in ourselves, and seek honor for ourselves above everything else. You may have noticed that the most “popular” people are not seen as having humility.

The most “popular” or admired people normally are recognized for everything they do, own huge mansions, and drive the latest sports car. To have humility would cause them great dishonor. These individuals would rather be praised for their accomplishments instead of being overlooked.

They would never do a noble action just to do a noble action--they want fame, fortune, and glory to come along. While the world teaches humility is a sign of weakness, it actually is not. Jesus Himself embodied humility during His life here on earth. Philippians 2:1-11 is actually known as the Humility Passage of Christ.

Following Jesus’ Example

Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. He is literally God in the flesh (John 1:14). Since Jesus is God, He is our greatest example to follow. Jesus Himself was humble and showed extreme humility in His life (Matthew 11:29-30). Jesus was God in the flesh, which meant He humbled Himself to walk upon this earth.

More than that, Jesus humbled Himself to the measure of dying for sinful mankind in order to redeem us from our sins (Philippians 2:5-11). Since Jesus humbled Himself to serve others and die for mankind’s sin, believers should strive to do the same. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

Humility is not a weakness, but rather, a great quality of a person. Believers should strive to always take a servant-minded approach to any task they do. Humility teaches us that we are never “above” doing a task, such as helping in daycare, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or cleaning up after a family gathering without anybody saying thank you.

Jesus practiced humility and His servant-heart by washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:1-17). Jesus did not say, “Since I am God, you should wash my feet!” Rather, Jesus told His disciples that He would wash their feet and proceeded to wash each of their feet even with Peter resisting at first (13:8-9). Likewise, believers need to practice humility and take the nature of a servant.

The Benefits of Humility

Humility is the exact opposite of pride. Pride is a sin and in fact, pride was the sin that caused Adam and Eve to fall. It is best for believers to abstain from being prideful as pride always comes before the fall. Proverbs 11:2 tells us, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

As we read in this passage of Proverbs 11:2, the writer tells us that disgrace comes after pride; whereas, wisdom comes with humility. If we practice humility in our lives, we will become wiser; however, if we take the attitude of pride, disgrace will soon follow.

In addition to humility causing a person to have wisdom, humility also causes a person to have a closer relationship with God. James 4:10 states, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” If we are prideful, we cannot come before the Lord with a pure heart. If we humble ourselves before God, he will lift us up.

What this means is that we have to take up humility in our lives. We have to be willing to be vulnerable to God, tell Him that we need His help, and that we are incomplete without Him. We have to depend on God because on our own, we are inadequate. Humility causes us to know that we need God and that we are not self-dependent.

Every person in the world is alive right now because of God. This should cause humility to swell inside of a person and recognize the truth of their dependence on God.

In the second half of this passage of James 4:10, James tells us that if we humble ourselves, God will lift us up. This means that if we go to God in reverent prayer and pray in humility, God will answer our prayers according to His Will.

Thirdly, a great benefit of humility is that by practicing humility, you are obeying God. We are given many instructions to practice humility in the Bible. Paul tells the Church in Colossae, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

This command is not only for the Colossians, but rather, for all believers. Since we are God’s people, we should be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. These qualities will shine Christ to the lost world. As believers, it is our responsibility to help the lost to know Christ and a great testimony is by our actions.

Likewise in the book of Romans, Paul urges the Roman Church, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Romans 12:16).

Therefore, simply because the world does not equate humility with strength does not mean it is a weakness. The world views humility as a weakness because the culture is very much caught up in pride, self-honor, and fame. Instead of taking this attitude, believers need to practice humility.

This is a counter-cultural teaching; however, humility is a quality all believers need to cultivate and possess in their daily life. When you practice humility, it shows your great love for God, and it makes Him very happy. God has chosen you to be a light for the gospel. 

1 Corinthians 1:28-29 helps shed light on humility: “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” Humility is not a weakness, but a great strength.

For further reading:

What Is the Meaning of Humility? Why Should We Be Humble?

What Does it Mean That the Lord Is My Strength and Shield?

Does Pride Really Go Before the Fall? (Proverbs 16:18)

What Are the Fruits of the Spirit?

Be Patient Bible Verses - Scriptures on Patience and Trusting God

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/allanswart

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.


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