A Lesson in Humility

It's the start of a new year, which means a blank slate and opportunity to change. Many people use the New Year to make goals and resolutions. Some want to quit bad habits, some want to make better choices, lose weight, spend more time with family, read more, travel more, etc.

I wouldn't say I made a resolution this year, but I am trying to get in better shape. The idea of hundreds of people looking at you in a dress as you walk down the aisle while a photographer captures that moment forever is a surprisingly affective motivator. And so before Christmas I joined a gym, which was new for me. When I was in high school and college I played team sports. I hated running, and still do. The gym was a confusing and off-putting place to me. That being said, I worked with a trainer and already feel much more comfortable in the gym. And yet, being a member of a gym, particularly in the month of January, is an excellent practice in humility.

I went to the gym on Wednesday, January 6 around 6:00pm. I regretted my decision the moment I walked through the front door. There were people everywhere. Nearly every machine was in use. I actually felt claustrophobic. All the same, I hopped on the only open elliptical and observed the masses around me. I quickly realized that many of these people did not have a clue what they were doing. I actually saw one trainer walk by a women who was on her phone while riding a stationary bike, which was not even turned on. Once he was out of her line of sight, I saw a smirk creep across his face as he slowly shook his head. I imagine I had a very similar look on my face.

A few days later I realized that was not fair of me. This woman left her warm house to come to the gym to try and reach her goals. Who am I to belittle that effort?  I am sure there are people at the gym who have much more experience with weight training than I do and would look at me with the same mix of amusement and exasperation.

In Matthew 7 Jesus says, “‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” As our friends and families set goals for the new year and possibly fall of the wagon, let us remember these wise words from Jesus.