The Bible says, “Humble yourself and you will be exalted.” I say, “Humble yourself, or God will do it for you!” Hee! Whether it was falling in the church parking lot last month, finding underwear on fire on my chandelier while I had visitors, or forgetting someone was coming to my house for lunch…that I cooked, these humbling experiences have all been reminders: I am not great.
Hudson Taylor, a 19th century missionary to China and one of the most profound Christian thinkers of all time had this to say about his life: “I often think that God must have been looking for someone small enough and weak enough for Him to use, and that He found me.”
It’s sad to me how often I have wanted to look better than I really am. That is the next symptom of an ego problem in this series of letters about pride:
Trying to Look Better than Reality Reveals or…being stingy with the “sorry”.
Let me illustrate: A “Polly Pocket” is like a Barbie who has been zapped by the Honey I Shrunk the Kids gun, and her shoes were more impossible than Barbie’s to find in the grass. The Cheerios and raisins that were supposed to have lasted through all four soccer games had also been dumped into the said grass within this first game. The double-stroller was loaded with activities and snacks for my younger two (age 2 and 1 at the time) so my older two could participate in a soccer tournament.
“I’ll take the baby and meet you at field 10,” Chris said, as he pushed the stroller along the sideline toward our second son’s game. I waited for the 9 yr-old to finish in the coach’s meeting, while I pretended to do a Seek and Find game from the Highlights’ Magazines of my youth, but it seemed impossible in this grass to find matching shoes for poor Polly.
I put the 2-yr-old on one hip, and the 9-yr-old and I walked between the fields, seeing “field 10” about four field-lengths over.
Thousands of people filled every soccer field’s sideline of this event. The acreage spanned to allow for more than thirty simultaneous games, so I was grateful to only need to go a distance of four fields. I could see Chris, already a couple of fields-lengths ahead, struggling to move the stroller’s wheels through the wet grass. There was a game on my right and my left the entire walk, as spectators yelled for their kids in every direction, and I tried to squeeze between them.
Suddenly, the game on my right halted and the whistle blew. Three mothers went running onto the field. My heart sank; there must be a major injury. My mind raced, realizing I had never even seen ONE mother run onto the field, much less THREE! I watched with anticipation, wondering if someone was badly hurt, or if there would be a catfight. (You never know with us soccer moms. LOL!)
One of the mothers in the center of the field turned in the direction of the crowd, and said angrily, “WHOSE BABY IS THIS?!” as she held up a cute little 1-yr-old boy. To my horror, I realized it was MY 1-yr-old boy the stranger was now holding!!
I took a quick glance to see Chris still pushing a stroller a field away, not realizing his carrier was empty.
I forced up courage, and made my way through the sideline crowd to retrieve JR, and told the mean lady, “I know his mother.”
HAHA! Just kidding, I didn’t say that- but I bet I thought about it. How embarrassing! Not only did we lose a child, but we didn’t even know he was missing! Ugh!
I wish I had a video of HOW he got out of that stroller, because it is still a mystery to us! Thousands of people there and no one saw his escape? Wasn’t the stroller still moving? Did he fall, and then get back up and head for the field? Was he looking for me, or just chasing another soccer ball?
The questions all remain unanswered.
That feeling though…the one where I wanted to explain to everyone how faultless I was in the story…the one where my embarrassment actually slowed my legs from making the steps toward retrieving my own son…the feeling that I cared more about what those strangers thought of me than what God thought…the feeling that prevented me from saying, “Sorry!” which clearly should have been the first word out of my mouth, regardless of the fault assigned to their inconvenience…the feeling that I wanted to look better than actuality showed me to be…
In my fun little “Brady classic,” it is amusing to think of the embarrassment in the situation. In reality, though, pride becomes a problem when we start worrying more about what man thinks than what God thinks. We start living a facade that we are great and never want anyone to think otherwise. We buy clothes we can’t afford, live in houses beyond our means and avoid the words, “I’m sorry,” because we’re afraid of how it “makes us look.” We analyze fault to see if we believe ours weighs more than others involved, before we determine if we really have to apologize.
For me though, in real relationships with real people, there is nothing that “makes a person look better” than when he/she apologizes and truly means it. Sincere apologies represent quiet strength. When one admits wrong it clears air and allows others the confidence to admit their wrongs as well. Stubbornness breeds stubbornness. As the song goes, “We all talk a different language when we’re talking in defense.” Admitting wrong breeds comfort for those around you, removes their defenses and allows for more pure relationships.
May we be comfortable in being “small enough and weak enough” for God to use.
Humble yourself before the Lord. (Don’t make Him get out His “Honey I shrunk the Kids” gun and bring us down to size!)
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Related Posts about Pride