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Humility and glory
This is very much an ‘essay’: an attempt to put my ideas together. If anyone thinks I’m going off-course, please tell me.

‘Glory’ is a word we are a little reticent about.  Yet it is clearly fundamental to our Christian vocation. The writer of the Hebrews speaks of God ‘bringing many sons to glory’ (Heb. 2.10). St Paul to the Corinthians talks of God’s hidden purpose of our coming to glory (1. Cor. 2.7). And indeed, Christ speaks in the High Priestly prayer in John 17 of having already given the glory to his disciples: ‘The glory that thou gavest me I have given to them’ (δέδωκα αὐτοῖς – perfect tense)’.

This why I feel uneasy with a constant breast-beating ‘I’m a sinner, I’m a pig’ attitude, which I find for example in ‘andrej­_2006’’s part of the dialogue in

Yes, we may certainly have behaved sinfully, ‘swinefully’, in our lives. And further on in our spiritual development we may be acutely aware both the sinfulness around us and of the structures of sin which remain deep inside us. But we must not define ourselves by sin, but rather by glory. Sin is by essence a stranger to the human race, an intrusion from outside. It is something we are not made for, whereas for glory we are made.

St Paul tells his Roman readers in Romans 12:3 ‘not to be conceited or think too highly of themselves, but to come to a sober estimate of themselves’. I wonder whether ‘to think too lowly of oneself’ is not an equal sin, and indeed may be rooted rather perversely in the same pride: both can be ways of setting oneself aside from humanity, making oneself someone ‘special’. Not to mention, in the latter case, as an excuse for not pulling one’s weight in the Christian and wider community. It can also be an excuse for not opening ourselves up to the painfulness of conversion and inner cleansing. Sin can be mediocre, but it can be perversely comfortable.

Someone will bring up here the argument of the importance of humility, often closely connected in the Russian mind with sense of sin and need for repentance. Dare I suggest humility is ultimately not about sin at all, but about our absolute dependency on God, a dependency not predicated on our sinfulness (‘we need God because we are sinners’), but simply because God made us to be ‘partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Peter 1.4).

And when repentance is necessary, it is not grovelling pokayanie, ‘I’m a swine, I’m a swine’, that God wants, but truth, and the courage to look honestly at what we are, to accept the fullness, the ‘glory’ that God wants for us, to say ‘no, in fact, with Your help, I am not a swine’, and saying this to take up our beds and walk.

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Es könnte sein, dass eine ‘Unzufriedenheit’ an und für sich nichts schlimmes ist. Eine Situation ohne Gott, oder mit einem falsch verstandenen Gott, kann nur unzufriedenstellend sein. Es ist vielmehr unsere Reaktion auf diese Unzufriedenheit, die den weiteren Lauf bestimmt. Für mich darf man Gott direkt fragen ‘ich bin unzufrieden: was tue ich, damit diese Unzufriedenheit sich gerade nicht verewigt, dass ich nicht in die Depression verfalle? Dafür muss man sehr direkt mit Gott sein. Das fordert Mut, nicht Demut. Die Demut mag später kommen, wenn sich eine gute, echte Verbindung mit Gott zusammengestellt hat. Aber Demut ohne Mut, eine mutlose Demut, ist miserabel. ‘Denn Gott hat uns nicht einen Geist der Verzagtheid gegeben, sonder der Kraft unde der Liebe und der Zucht’ (2 Tim. 1.4).

Oh, so einfache Worte, und so genaue und so rechtzeitig ("Dafür muss man sehr direkt mit Gott sein. Das fordert Mut, nicht Demut"). Noch eine Erinnerung, danke!

Ich bin auch sicher, dass echte, wahre Demut später kommt. Vielleicht sogar in diesem Leben echte Demut ist unmöglich auf eine festig Zeit, nur auf ein Augenblick.

Gut gesagt. Schönen Sonntag.

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