So what then is humility? In my opinion it is the very antithesis of self-interest. To be humble means to put aside personal desire in order to meet the need of another, to willingly put self aside for the good of another, or of the community. Something amazing happens when a person, particularly a leader, acts in humility. The exercise of power with humility, i.e. the exercise of power for the good of others rather than for the good of self, is what rebuilds communities.
The exercise of power for the benefit of others is something Christians are called to do. When we see ourselves in the light of a holy God, the natural response is to bow our knees before him and humble ourselves to him. And to those who humble themselves, God himself says I will lift you up. And this I believe is the same reason that certain individuals are put in powerful positions. Most people know the stories of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon – both ended up in very powerful positions and used that power for the benefit of others.
Today many Christians tend to shy away from powerful positions; we somehow equate weakness with humility. But the bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘we have not been given the spirit of timidity or fear, but of power, love and a sound mind’. Power and love must of necessity go together. Power without love at best results in the exercise of that power for self-interest. At worst it can turn into a total abuse of power to the detriment of the powerless. Love without power on the other hand tends to be ineffective – if power is the ability to make things happen, then without power love only will not achieve anything. So while most Christians are loving, they do not have the power to impact those in need for the betterment of all. This is the dual challenge for Zimbabwe – for those with power to be more loving, and for those who say they love to not be ineffective through lack of power.