“Great Kid! Don’t get cocky,” were words of wisdom from Han to Luke after Luke’s great cheer of success of shooting down a ship while fighting TIE fighters from the gun turrets in the Millennium Falcon (long opening sentence, I know, but bear with me, please). Han Solo, the epitome of, well, a lot of things. He’s a smuggler for hire and scruffy around the edges but becomes something more over the course of the Star Wars saga. He grows, he matures, and he becomes humble (oh, and Han shot first).
When Luke and Ben Kenobi first see the Millennium Falcon, they think it’s a hunk of junk. But Han sees it as the best and fastest ship in the galaxy (don’t you know it did the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs?). He’s proud of his ship. Even if it is held together by the constant work of the co-pilot Wookie, Chewbaca.
Han just wants his money. He doesn’t want to get into idealistic rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Yet he does.
At the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back, Han is on his way to take the money he’d been given to pay off Jaba the Hut who had a price on Han’s head. Princess Leia calls him a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerf herder. Han’s response “Who you calling ‘scruffy looking’?” Later in Empire as Han has been capture by Boba Fet and about to be lowered into the vat and be frozen in Carbonite, Leia says to him “I love you.” And Han, as he’s being lowered down, smirks a bit and says “I know.” Even though he told Luke not to get cocky, Han was pretty cocky himself.
In Return of the Jedi, after a well planned plot to free Han, he’s defrosted from the Carbonite. Blind and discombobulated from hibernation sickness, Han hears their plan and that Luke’s a Jedi Knight. He’s first response: “I’m out of it for a little while, everybody gets delusions of grandeur.” As if they needed him for everything.
Hubris is pride. Like a ton of pride. Like pride on steroids. There’s the oft quoted proverb
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:8
Believe it or not, we all have some sort of hubris. We think of pride sometimes as being bad. I can be proud of my son. I can be proud of my accomplishments. I can be proud of what others have done. Hubris is different. Hubris is where your accomplishments are your priority and nothing else matters but you.
I’m reading a book by Lance Witt called Replenish. He mentioned something interesting. He sat in awe of how little we practice and preach humility. He wondered when was the last time you sat down and read a book on humility or read a blog about living humility. Witt writes
“I was reminded how prevalent humility was in the life and teachings of Jesus. His very first words in the Sermon on the Mount are about those who are poor (humble) in spirit. And the Cross is the ultimate manifesto on humanity.” pg 147
Humility is the answer to hubris. Even Jesus went and did the work of the Father. He never came to do his own work but of the work of the Father who sent him. And as the Father sent him, so Jesus sends us. He sends us out in humility, not accomplishing what we want to accomplish, but making our wants and desires Gods’ wants and desires.
That’s the thing about Han. As his character grew, he began to see things greater than himself. He began to place the wants and desires of something greater than himself above his own wants and desires.
Some of the things that Witt suggests to be done to battle hubris, Han does. Witt suggests praising others rather than yourself, be interested in others more than yourself, and stay in touch with grace. But there’s one much more important than that: Make much of Jesus. Jesus lived and modeled humility. The first shall be last and the last shall be first (Mark 10:43-44). We must come as a little child before God (Luke 18:3-4) and even Jesus says that he didn’t come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45). Humility is seeking God over all else.
“Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
When we seek God through Jesus and make much of Jesus, we see things in a new light. Now, I must say, I’m still working on this. I’m still struggling with this. And so are you. We all are.
So did Han. And he will most likely continue to do so in Episode VII when it comes out (they might even have to work in his breaking his leg into the script too). If pride comes before the fall, then humility comes before being lifted up.
How can you humble yourself today and lift others up?