Second Thoughts: When Humility Becomes Dishonesty

By Thomas White, Student at LivingEd-Charlotte

“You don’t want to step on other people trying to get a job, but the reality is…if you’re going to be hired…you need to look better than the other guy or other gal. That’s just the reality, because there’s competition for jobs.” ~ Dr. Scott Winnail

Dr. Scott Winnail focused this week’s assembly on strategies for building a strong resume, delivering a practical and beneficial presentation that was particularly pertinent in the lives of the eighteen-to-twenty-four-year-olds sitting in the room. The ability to write an effective resume is critical to those of us who would like to buy food on at least a semi-consistent basis, and two of the helpful resources Dr. Winnail provided are linked at the end of this post. But what struck me the most about this assembly was when Dr. Winnail spoke of the balance we all must use in showing humility and honesty at the same time. As he brought out, we’re all representatives of God’s Church, so if we make ourselves look worse than we really are, aren’t we not only lying, but making the very body of Christ look bad?

“People just lie. That’s what society is like, and lying becomes part of the character of the end-time Israelite society. And certainly, that’s something we don’t want to be part of.”

This topic certainly applies well to resumes, as Dr. Winnail proved. I had difficulty writing my first resume, largely because I felt like I was bragging. But I wasn’t lying on my resume; like Dr. Winnail said, I was simply putting my best foot forward. Do we ever view humility as thinking or speaking poorly of ourselves? I’ve thought of it that way, but that’s a pretty shallow idea of what humility is, and it leaves more room for dishonesty than true humility ever would. How often do we find ourselves being dishonest in the name of humility? “Hey, you did a good job on those spreadsheets,” someone might say. “Nah, it wasn’t much,” I might reply. Did I just lie? If I know I worked hard on those spreadsheets and delivered a quality result, then yes, I have indeed just lied. I might be well-intentioned, trying to obey the First Commandment by not making an idol of myself, but now I’ve turned around and broken the Ninth Commandment. How is that any better?

“We’ve got to speak truth to our neighbor, and any employer is our neighbor, in the context that God uses. … You can be a false witness of yourself, if you don’t tell the truth.”

Compared to God, not one of us humans is anywhere near a big deal, so obviously, we shouldn’t parade around acting like one. We’d all hopefully agree that we should never lie about our accomplishments, but do we think about how short-changing ourselves is, essentially, doing just that? For example, if you’re a great singer, wouldn’t true humility be to recognize that God made you that way, that you owe your talent to Him, and then to sincerely thank Him for it? (Probably best not to do this on a resume, by the way. That might not go over well.) To deny that you’re a great singer, if indeed you are, isn’t that to insult the gift God’s freely granted you? When we dismiss the abilities and accomplishments God’s given us as “not much,” we’re not only lying, but failing to be thankful. With prayerful effort and God’s constant help, we can strike that balance of humility and honesty, recognizing that we’re nothing without God, and acknowledging that He’s given us something valuable.



Resume Resources Given:’s “10 Resume Writing Tips to Help You Land a Job”

The sample resume of one Sparty Spartan.

Thomas White headshot

Thomas White was one of the onsite Living Education students for the 2018-2019 semesters. He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Thomas currently works as an Editorial Assistant for the Living Church of God. According to his wife, he eats pizza in entirely the wrong way.