If you’re a parent, chances are you child has or had one or two particular movies or videos they loved watching over and over and over again. Sometimes (if you’re lucky), they grow out wanting to watch that particular video and move on to something else. But sometimes not…as is my case with my daughters who are 21 and 18. They love the “Princess Diaries” movies and NEVER grow tired of watching them. As much as they’ve played in our house ad nauseum, I can probably quote them verbatim. But there’s one scene from the first movie that’s always stuck out to me as having great application in our Christian walk.
If you’ve never seen the first movie, there’s a scene toward the end where the main character, Mia (played by Anne Hathaway), makes a speech to the crowd gathered to hear if she’s going to become the princess of Genovia. She explains to the crowd how she wrestled with the decision and how she would feel about that decision, and then she says this:
“…And then I realized how many stupid times a day I used the word ‘I.’ I mean, that’s probably all I ever do, is think about myself…and how lame is that when there’s like 7 billion other people out there on the planet…but then I thought, if I cared about the other 7 billion out there instead of just me…that’s probably a much better use of my time.”
Now trust me, I don’t normally get theological teaching moments from Disney princess movies, but this statement made me think of Paul’s words to the Philippians when he said, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil 2:3-4 ESV)
Humility…it’s a characteristic that, unfortunately, seems to be in rare supply these days. In our self-obsessed, social media driven world, it’s become all about “me.” Just look through your Facebook (or Instagram or Twitter…) feed, and see how many posts contain the words, “I” “me” “my” or “mine” – and it’s easy to see how prideful we are.
And I think pride has several facets. I have seen several posts from people who would say things to the effect of, “I’m just a terrible person…I’m not worthy of anyone’s love…I’m not worth anything.” But often times, I would dare say, that’s pride masquerading as humility in search of sympathy from others. While humility is having a humble opinion of oneself (especially in comparing ourselves to Christ); it’s also remembering that it’s not all about us. I’ve heard it put this way: “Humility is not just thinking less of yourself…it’s thinking of yourself less.”
In fact, Paul goes on in that passage in Philippians to tell us to look to Christ as the ultimate example of humility; “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8 ESV) He did that thinking us His love for those he was dying for, and ultimately, for the glory of the Father.