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Understanding two Latin words

I don’t speak Latin. I chickened out in high school and took Spanish while the highbrows took Latin or French. But I do know that a lot of our English words have Latin roots and I want to share two of those words with you:


The words humus and hubris share a common Latin origin.

The word humus literally means “earth.”  Can I stay down to earth…in touch with the ordinary, the daily, the common place?

The word hubris  means “pride.” Merriam Webster calls it exaggerated pride. 

Paul warns us in Romans 12:3 not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought.  It’s a matter of not being full of yourself, your ideas, your opinions, your preferences, your whatever.  It’s been said that a person wrapped up in him/herself makes a very small package. If there was one thing that inflamed Jesus, it was the flagrant pride of religious people--especially religious leaders, self-righteous leaders.  The kind that pray “I thank you I’m not like other men.” Implied meaning: I am better than other men. I am especially not like that bum of a tax collector over there who is asking you to be merciful to him.

Hubris is often the cause of a leader’s downfall.  It’s not sexual sin or financial malfeasance (two biggies), but hubris that leads to the sexual and financial decisions.

“…God opposes the proud (hubris) but gives grace to the humble (humus). Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” I Peter 5:5,6 ESV. I’m not saying that the Greek (another language I don’t speak) uses the word hubris and humus in these verses, but the concept is inherent in the language.

Since this is a blog, and is not supposed to be a full-blown dissertation on the subject, I’m not going to thoroughly research this or blather on but just get the ball in play and, hopefully, kick off a discussion.  Here’s my conclusion:

An abundance of hubris and a lack of humus is the Achilles heel of most leadership falls.  It’s what caused Lucifer to fall from heaven and has tripped up leaders through the ages.

I have four things I pray for myself every single day and pride is one of the four. I’m asking Jesus to keep me humble and dependent, since everything I have, everything I know, everything I can do and everything I am by way of gifting and capacity are sheer gifts from God.

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV)

So, what do I have to be proud of? Nothing but the Lord Jesus Christ!


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    Everyone has its own language and if we talk about Latin though it is quite tough but people used to learn it. To learn a little bit Latin from your blog is pretty good as I am fond of learning other languages.

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