Any one of us need to be open to the reality of personal pride. Are we proud people? How could a humble person say, "No"? The meaning of humility has changed though. Being humble no longer means what it once did. Neither does love and other biblical words, but humility has now morphed into something that doesn't mean humility. The word "humility" is used as a weapon by unbelievers and by those who call themselves Christians, but it's not actual humility, and I'm going to explain.
First though, humility itself is good. Scripture teaches humility. We should encourage it. In the King James Version, "humble" is used 25 times, "humbled," 28, "humility," 7, and all the other forms of the word in English combined, 11. The Greek word translated "humble" is also translated "lowly," so there are all those instances as well. The concept is described also in different other ways, like "poor in spirit" in Matthew 5:3 and then what Paul writes in Philippians 2:3, esteeming others better than ourselves.
Humility is required for salvation. God gives grace to the humble, not the proud. Someone must humble himself before God to be saved. This is the idea of 'humble yourself and you'll be exalted and exalt yourself and you'll be abased.' You can't come to God on your own terms. You've got to subject yourself to Him in humility. This is the thought behind Jesus saying that if you are to come to Him, you've got to deny yourself. Self-denial is humility.
So how is humility being perverted? A common idea today -- it isn't true -- about humility is that it is some degree of doubt, uncertainty, capitulation, or tolerance. This has become the new humility. What is ironic about the perversion of humility is how certain the new humble are that you are proud if you are not their new kind of humble. They were never more sure that you are proud. Why? Because you are so certain that someone is wrong.
Doubt becomes a necessity for someone who wants to live like he wants to live. He can't be judged as wrong anymore, so he's at liberty to do what he wants to do. He doesn't want the one judging him to be sure. If that person is sure, it's because that person is unreasonable, not open, or he is proud. He isn't being humble or gracious, that is, to see it in more than one way. Any one who doesn't allow for more than one way is being proud, and this is how humility takes on a new definition.
In reality, humility is submitting to what God says, living by faith. God says He is clear, so He is. What He says is plain, because He says it is plain. Doubt is actually a proud excuse. This confidence isn't focusing inward, but upward. God says it, so I'm going to do it. If someone else isn't doing it, I'm going to say what God wants me to say.
What I've read about this apostatizing of humility has been called "espistemological humility." It is another form of calling good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20). Epistemology is basically how one knows what he knows. How do we know what we know? Faith is attacked. Certainty is opposed. This is bad, but it is called good in a kind of counterfeit fashion. The real humility is replaced by this faux humility, which is actually pride.
God resists the proud, gives grace to the humble. He doesn't give grace to the counterfeit humble or the faux humble. That's actually pride. It's somebody who doesn't want to do what God wants him to do and he doesn't want to hear about it. That's pride.
In Ephesians 5:11, God says through the Apostle Paul, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Reprove what? How can anyone know with certainty what is an unfruitful work of darkness? That sounds too ambiguous. Who would be so proud to reprove someone? Humility would leave it alone -- too much doubt. Don't be fooled by this. This is apostatizing humility.
Somebody wants to do what he wants to do. The person who tells him to change -- that is the proud person. Why? He can't know it's wrong. He's got to be more humble about not knowing what's wrong. He's got to have doubt, because that would be humble. The pride is someone not wanting to change, not humbling himself under the teaching of scripture, but that is absolutely switched around.
Earlier in Ephesians 5, Paul mentions stuff that he wants reproved: fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting. What are those? Can we be sure? If Paul wants those to be reproved, of course we can be certain what they are. I know that people behave like they don't know and they want their critics not to know either. It makes it easier for them. And then they get angry if someone comes at them with certainty. They call it pride. It's actually humility. The pride is calling it pride. It is humility to obey God when he says something.
Epistemological humility is not humility. It is unbelief. Without faith it is impossible to please God. God is not being pleased by this faithlessness. It should not be expected from either party -- the one criticizing or the one being criticized. God wants us living like we know and can apply what He said -- because we can.