"For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled ..." (Luke 14:11)

"For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 14:8-11)

Why is Jesus saying this?

Jesus is at the house of a Pharisee and he is sitting down at the dinner table. He has just told his parable about the wedding feast. Now he is elaborating on the meaning of this parable.

Who will humble those who exalt themselves?

Some have taken this statement by Jesus to be some kind of threat. Neither was he saying that someone in particular was going to strike us down if we exalt ourselves. Jesus was not threatening us with hell or fire and brimstone. He wasn't saying that if we exalt ourselves then we will go to hell.

The reality is that those of us who exalt ourselves are already in hell. As Jesus is identifying, when we promote ourselves we are saying to others that we are the most important person in our life. This is the opposite of the consciousness that brings us peace. This is the opposite of the consciousness of love.

What Jesus is saying is that by nature, a person who exalts themselves will become humbled. This is because this world is a place of learning. This physical world was set up to constantly humble us.

Just looking around at the natural world is a humbling experience. Just consider the great mountain ranges. Or the incredible ocean swells. Consider tornados. Consider lightning. Just watching the sunset is humbling. This world is awesome, and we can be humbled every day just by looking around us.

And of course, the physical world is designed to humble us in many other ways - whether we receive them or not. For example, a person who feels proud of their physique will be automatically humbled as the physical body ages, becomes weak and eventually dies.

A person who feels proud of their accomplishments will be automatically humbled as their accomplishments are gradually forgotten and outdone by others who come after. All of us will be humbled when our body dies and we are forced to leave all our accomplishments behind.

Who will exalt those who are humbled?

Some have interpreted this to mean that Jesus or God will be coming around and exalt those who have remained humble. As though those who become humbled would receive a reward for their humility. As if those who act humble will be paraded through the streets of heaven and exalted before crowds of adoring angels. As if.

Such a fantasy is not about humility. Pretending to be humble in order to receive a reward for acting humble is a falsehood. Acting humbly in order to receive a reward is not humility. It is a show.

True humility has nothing to do with acting humble. Those who are truly humble within may or may not be recognized as humble.

True humility comes from intelligence. It is understanding the Supreme nature of God and His creation. It is understanding that we have been given this physical body and this physical world in order to learn lessons of love. True humility comes from an awareness of the incredible creation and organization involved within this physical world and the spiritual world.

True humility comes with our realization that the Supreme Being is perfect. That we are but a tiny particle - a child-soul - created by the Supreme Being. True humility comes with a realization of how beautiful the Supreme Being is. It comes with the awareness of our own shortcomings compared with God's mercy and love for us.

True humility comes with the understanding that the Supreme Being loved us so much that He was willing to send His beloved representative Jesus to this world to teach us about Him - even though that world committed gruesome crimes against Jesus while he was here to teach us about love and humility.