A good post here by Kevin DeYoung on learning how to ask questions of others in conversation.

He paraphrases a quote by C.S. Lewis on humility.

Here’s the original:

To even get near [humility], even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert.

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.

Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.

If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

Mere Christianity, (section on “The Great Sin), p. 128 of this edition

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4 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis on What It’s Like to Meet a Truly Humble Person”

  1. Seth Odom says:

    That is really encouraging. Lewis hits the nail right on the head. The people who actually listen to others stand out more than anything to me. I know that I am oftentimes just waiting for the other person to finish what he is saying so I can start my rant. God help us all to grow in more Christ-like humility.

  2. Mark G. says:

    Reading this post reminded me of a chapter I read in a book by Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl, Transformissional Coaching. The chapter was on listening. As a pastor, I have never been trained on how to listen. I doubt most pastors have, and it really shows when you begin to look for it. Probably one of the best ways to break down barriers to ministry and to open up even the most hardened skeptic is to simply listen to them and ask good questions to draw them out. I have read a few good things on this, but sadly most are from the business world, not from Christian ministry. Thank you for highlighting this need.

  3. DanErickson says:

    Amen, to Seth’s and Mark’s comments. Being a good listener is a huge part of being a good shepherd. I preached on humility last Sunday (1 Peter 5:5-7). I wish I would have recalled this Lewis quote because it is difficult for many to picture what true humility looks like in practical terms. Still, I think I preached one of the finest sermons ever preached on the topic. LOL :-)

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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