Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pride, Haughtiness and Humility

Today we had guests for dinner, to include the missionaries serving in our area.  In the process of sharing conversation, we had the opportunity to discuss situations with previous missionaries, and I realized that some of what we were saying might not have been interpreted as nice, and would not have been something I would have shared with the person we were talking about, had they been present.  Realizing I don't want to talk like this about people, I suggested we change the subject, but the elder asked why I (and my family) felt the way I did.  I suppose he wanted to hear what was considered rude behavior by me, perhaps so that he could avoid doing what the previous missionary had done.

As my husband and I tried to pinpoint what was really that offensive about the previous missionary, we somewhat nailed down that the issue at hand was a bit of pride.  This previous missionary always had a "one-upper" – whatever we were talking about, this person could share something that was bigger, better, brighter, or whatever.  They could always "top" the story we were sharing.

After discussing this situation, I remembered a different missionary from years past.  It has probably been well over ten years since this other missionary served here, but I was so impressed by him that I still remember his name.  He worked a crowd like few I have seen.  He knew how to bring joy to the room, give a great discussion where the peace of the Spirit was felt, and dispelled contention.  He was not pretentious, haughty, or proud.  I felt humility from him, and never felt pompousness or self-righteousness.  This did not mean he didn't know the gospel or the scriptures, but he didn't judge you if you didn't know them, or try to out-do you.

The two missionaries I recall were both male and female.  Both surely worked hard, and were "good" missionaries.  Both were imperfect, and I remember both by name, years after they have left our ward.  If I had a chance to emulate one or the other, or consider which was more Christ-like, it would surely be the second.  He hadn't traveled as much as the first, didn't have quotes and citations memorized, and was not necessarily "booksmart", but he carried the Spirit's presence with him.  

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