This is the second of three columns on the topic of humility. The first was published in the Sept. 7 Crestview News Bulletin.

Many think being humble means groveling in front of others, or thinking “I” am no good and others are better. As I mentioned last week, that is incorrect thinking.

It seems to me, many people misunderstand the Biblical concept of humility. They think humility means being weak or passive. That’s not God’s message to us.

Consider the following items.

• You can defuse arguments when you are humble. You don’t need to stand up for yourself in an angry manner. And you don’t have to win every argument. Proverbs 15:1, New Revised Standard Version, states, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

• Being humble means you can handle unfair treatment peacefully without becoming bitter. This means you do not feel a need for vengeance or revenge.

“Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NRSV)

• When you are humble, you do not have to put on a “false front.” When you understand God and humility, you don’t need to act like a big shot. The better you know God, the less you have to prove.

• Humility means you can eat “humble pie” without being crushed. When you are humble, you can respond to and learn from criticism without becoming defensive — whether it is deserved or not. You can also be aware of your own failures without being emotionally devastated.

• Being humble means you can ask for forgiveness. Even if you think you are only minutely wrong, you can easily apologize for what you did wrong. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Jesus of Nazareth)

• When you are humble, you can talk with a right attitude. You can talk courteously and lovingly, regardless of the situation — even if you need to be firm or take strong action. “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29, NRSV)

In my next column I will finish up with these thoughts on humility. In the meantime, ponder what you have read and how it might apply to your life.

(With thanks to Doug Britton for his insights on this topic.)

The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.