A second kind of common tainted humility is what we’ll call “Mini-Me.” This is the pathological putting down of oneself found in people who are incapable of receiving a compliment. When complimented, they always feel required to put themselves down, lest they become puffed up with pride. A good example of this is the successful author who was once introduced to Thomas Mann. Humbled in the presence of the famous novelist, the lesser know writer called himself nothing more than a hack. Afterward, Mann remarked, “That man has no right to make himself that small. He is not that big.”
The Bible not only admonishes us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but it also teaches us how we ought to think of ourselves (Romans 12:3). According to the Apostle Paul, we are to think of ourselves according to God’s gifting of us. There is nothing wrong with evaluating ourselves on the basis of our God-given abilities, nor of graciously and gratefully receiving compliments from those who recognize and appreciate the abilities with which God has entrusted us.
Every time we fail to receive the compliments of others, we are actually missing out on a great opportunity to point others away from ourselves to God. While we should always be receptive of the compliments of others, we should never claim any credit for the abilities we have. Instead, we should always take the opportunity to give God the glory for having so graciously bestowed upon us such unmerited favor. There is certainly nothing prideful in that. What greater example of true humility is there than one’s diverting of praise from himself to God?