At Home with Humility

Dorothy Gale of Kansas taught me that there’s no place like home. It’s where I wear my comfy clothes, don’t worry about hair or makeup, unwind after a long day, and generally feel the most secure. Home is also where I’m most likely to let my guard down. 

Because I feel secure with my family, I’m more prone to behave badly toward them than someone I desire to impress. Words of anger, frustration, anxiety, and stress fly out of my mouth and make victims of those most precious to me in the world. While home is safe and comfortable, it can also be one of the most difficult places to demonstrate a basic Christian virtue: humility. 

Moses didn’t have a home life like you or me—unless you lived in a palace for the first forty years of your life and then decided to make an abrupt career change to become a shepherd for the next forty. While his life followed a somewhat unorthodox path, he did experience something most of us know very well: family struggles. In leading the Israelites in the wilderness, Moses put up with more than his fair share of grumbling from the general population. The complaining intensified one day when Aaron and Miriam, his own brother and sister, decided to air their grievances.

It is in this context that we read in Numbers 12:3, “Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth.” Even in the midst of opposition from his family, Moses demonstrated humility. His response instructs us all in how to respond humbly, even in the face of conflict with loved ones. 

Slow to Speak 

The first lesson Moses teaches us is to keep our mouths shut. While making an argument from silence is usually a bad idea, in this case, silence is instructive. When Aaron and Miriam began disparaging their brother (jealous of his position as spokesman for the Lord), Scripture doesn’t record a single word uttered by Moses.

No Dirty Laundry

Moses doesn’t fall into the trap of bringing up past offenses of his siblings. This incident takes place not long after Aaron’s poor judgment in molding an idol out of the people’s jewelry. Though Moses had the perfect opportunity to criticize Aaron’s leadership, he didn’t do so. 

First Corinthians 13 teaches that one of love’s defining characteristics is that it keeps no record of wrongs. True love can overlook an offense and choose not to dredge it back up at an opportune moment. Pride and anger always have the list in their back pocket, ready to pull it out in self-defense whenever the need arises. 

What’s your reaction in the face of conflict at home? Do you find ammunition from the past failings of your loved ones? 

No Disparaging

A situation in which loved ones bring hurtful accusations against us might also tempt us to employ the tactic of disparaging the other party. While this strategy resembles the previous one, it differs in that it doesn’t have to be rooted in actual events. It may be the fabrication of our own slanted perception. “You want to accuse me of laziness? Well, let’s just talk about you for a second!” 

Moses didn’t reach for this weapon either. He no doubt had ammunition to fire that could have knocked both Miriam and Aaron down a peg, but he chose instead to take the path of slowness to speak—the path that, according to James, allows the righteousness of God to work (1:19–20). 

No Self-Exaltation

Moses not only refused to bring up his siblings’ past failings, but also didn’t mention his own accomplishments. He didn’t feel the need to defend himself with the list of things he’d done—things like confronting Pharaoh, leading the children of Israel out of enslavement, parting the Red Sea, hearing from God on a daily (if not more frequent) basis. If anyone had a resumé to hand out, it was Moses. But he didn’t. 

This also corresponds with the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13, which says that gospel love is never arrogant nor puffed up. Love doesn’t need to make itself look grand or enviable in the eyes of the other person. 

But it’s so easy to do.

In the face of an allegation, a whole list of reasons the accusation is false begs to come flying out of our mouths, putting the other person in their place and restoring us to our rightful status. But love and humility hold this desire for self-preservation and exaltation in check.

Moses, of course, isn’t the ultimate example of keeping quiet in the face of false accusations. He merely foreshadows another who would be torn to pieces by His loved ones. The apostle Peter, put the exemplary quietness of Jesus this way: 

For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:21–23, emphasis added)

Quick to Intercede

Like Christ, Moses entrusted the situation with Miriam and Aaron to God. And in Moses’ case, the Lord Himself defended His loyal servant and vindicated him by plaguing Miriam with leprosy. Aaron, having quickly changed his tune, implored Moses to intercede on Miriam’s behalf that Yahweh heal their sister of this dreaded illness. 

Once again Moses lived up to his reputation as the “most humble man.” Instead of reaching for any of the weapons of anger and revenge that you or I might be tempted to use, Moses humbly interceded for his sister. His prayer for Miriam reached Yahweh’s ears, and after seven days of uncleanness, Miram was healed. 

After we’ve been attacked, prayer often comes with great effort. The last thing we want to do for our offender is pray. Even if it’s a beloved member of our family, a prayer for that person’s well-being may taste bitter on our lips. But true humility at home means we don’t withhold our prayers, even in the face of offense.

We also must not withhold forgiveness. While Scripture doesn’t record the relational reconciliation between Moses and his siblings, it certainly implies it. Allowing anger to fester and withholding forgiveness hinders both our own relationship with God and our ministry for Him. Neither of these seems to have been affected in Moses’ case. 

I don’t mean to say that forgiveness is cheap nor that it always comes easily. But because of the gospel, we know that forgiveness is always possible. If God in Christ Jesus was able to forgive me of my treasonous sins, how could I withhold the same from someone who wronged me to a much smaller degree (Eph. 4:32; Matt. 18:21–35)? Humility is always hard, especially within the four walls of our home. However, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is possible. 

Have you seen all that has to offer . . . for free?!? The generous gifts of friends like you make it possible for us to offer a growing library of absolutely free resources like audio and video content, articles and blog posts, and more, all year long. When you support the ministry, you’re making it possible for us to continue to produce dynamic, trustworthy, FREE biblical content in the year to come. Thank you for partnering with us in calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. 

About the Author

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson lives in a small Minnesota town with her husband, son and daughter, and ridiculous black dog. She enjoys reading books, drinking coffee, and coaching basketball. You can read more of her musings about God's Word at

Join the Discussion