The Gift of Humiliation

Most every human being has likely been humiliated at some point in life. Humiliation comes in the form of exclusion, ostracism, ridicule, betrayal, abandonment, online shaming, and in endless other ways. Have you ever been humiliated? Have you ever thought of humiliation as a gift? It can be. Discover how.

Humiliation is a deep human fear. None of us want to be humiliated! My hope is that no one reading this is currently dealing with the pain of humiliation, but sadly, I suspect some of you are. I wrote this for everyone but especially for you. In this article, I hope to show that when those awful, yet inevitable moments of humiliation come our way, despite the pain they cause, they can help us grow spiritually and make us a better person.

Interestingly enough, the words humiliate, humility, humble, and human are all derived from the same Latin word humus, meaning earth/ground. To be humble is to be grounded. To be humiliated is to be reduced or make to feel low by someone else. Perhaps it is no coincidence that God formed humans from the earth and when we are humiliated, we often feel like dirt.

It’s important to distinguish humiliation from embarrassment and shame. Embarrassment and shame are primarily the outcome of self-appraisal, whereas humiliation is something that is brought upon us by others. There is, however, a close connection. Being humiliated can cause us to feel shame and embarrassment.

Humiliation can happen to anyone at any time. Christians can experience it from inside or outside of the Church. Inside of the Church, we are sometimes subjected to humiliation when we become vulnerable with each other and share our inner most thoughts and feelings. It is best to only share our deepest feelings and struggles with a trusted confidant. Unfortunately, some people abuse our trust to our detriment and expose us to humiliation. The second type of humiliation Christians experience comes from outside of the Church.  There are times when we can face humiliation and or mockery simply by practicing our faith. Both forms of humiliation are painful.

Severe humiliation can be a fate worse than death. It can destroy a person’s standing as well as their life, whereas death merely destroys their life. Notwithstanding the pain of humiliation, the main point of this message is that humiliation does not have to destroy us. It, in fact, can be a blessing!

Humiliation does not have to be accompanied by shame. Jesus was crucified, which was a horribly humiliating form of death, but clearly, He did not feel any shame. If we are secure in who we are in Jesus Christ, we also need not allow humiliation to cause us shame. Instead, we can allow it to make us humble. And that is a true blessing.  Mother Teresa once said, “Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but a kiss of Jesus.” She also said, “We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully.”

If we are open to allowing it, facing and accepting humiliations can be a means of growing in true humility before God. After all, humility is an essential virtue for the Christian life. Humility can be found by imitating Christ, and Jesus was Himself humiliated. Humiliation, when properly perceived, can be transformative. When we face humiliation, we confront our ego, pride, and self-importance, all of which are barriers to embracing humility. We can choose to see a humiliating moment as a steppingstone towards humility rather than as a threat to our self-esteem.

1 Peter 2:21 states, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” Pope Francis once wrote, “Humiliation makes you resemble Jesus; it is an unavoidable aspect of the imitation of Christ.”

I am not suggesting that we should seek out humiliation for the sake of growing in humility. No one needs to passively accept mistreatment by others. I am, however, making the point that when we inevitably face humiliation, we can choose to embrace it as an opportunity to grow in humility and conformity to Christ.

Not everyone reading this at this time is under the crushing weight of humiliation. However, if you are, you do not need to despair or lose hope. Humiliation is inevitable.  It can lead to the virtue of humility. It can make us humble, or it can cause shame and embarrassment. One of the reasons we often feel so humiliated is because our pride is bruised and brought low through humiliation. What matters most is our response to humiliation. When it comes our way, and it will, we can react out of pride, we can feel shame, or we can instead accept it as an opportunity to share in the cross of Christ.

Heavenly Father, Jesus faced humiliation when he took my sins to the cross. When humiliation comes my way, help me to find peace by uniting my pain to the pain and humiliation Jesus suffered for me on the cross. Amen! 


As always, I love to hear from you. You can email me by clicking here.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts about today’s message below.

Brian Pusateri
Latest posts by Brian Pusateri (see all)


  1. Bob Peary on May 7, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    Not looking to be humiliated. Do not think it is a blessing!

    • Brian Pusateri on May 7, 2024 at 10:13 pm


      Thanks for posting. You make a great point. No one looks forward to being humiliated and when it happens it is usually quite painful. I am clearly not suggesting that anyone should seek it out. My point is that when it happens it usually becomes a very humbling experience. And, growing in humility is a key part of being Christian. We can also unite the pain of the experience to Christ’s pain on the cross.


Leave a Comment