What did kids do to protect themselves from parents before Snopes.com? This website, which exposes urban legends and crazy emails purporting all kinds of untrue things, would be death on some of the stories my parents told me. 'You see, there's this big fat guy in a red suit, riding in a sleigh filled with toys, who squeezes down the chimney and brings you great presents on Christmas morning,” my parents would say to little wide-eyed David, Wanda, and Charley. And for a while we believed them! Snopes would have fixed that. I could have checked it out and Snopes would probably have said something like, 'False. Urban legend started many centuries ago ... blah, blah, blah ... and Santa Claus is really daddy.” Aha! I suspected that.
Or did you ever hear the story about how a great way to pull a loose tooth from an innocent little kid's mouth is to tie a string around the tooth and the other end to a doorknob? Then you slam the door. I used to hear that story when I was losing my baby teeth. We discussed it in school, though I'm not sure I ever knew anyone who had it done to them. Parents always suggested it. In my heart it seemed possible, but I wasn't ready to try it. Can you imagine the pain at the moment the door pulled the tooth? Gives me the willies just thinking about it. Probably Snopes would have said: 'Usually false. A story invented to scare little kids into letting fathers or mothers yank the dangling tooth (so they wouldn't swallow it in their sleep and cause great internal damage).” How is it that we'll put up with pain or inconvenience when we know there is a solution”"it's just that for a moment the solution hurts and we're afraid of that pain more than the pain that dogs us each day?
Pride reminds me of that dangling tooth. Have you ever had something that hurt you and the Holy Spirit whispered, 'You're pain comes from pride and an attitude that revels in feeling sorry for yourself and defending yourself. Let me yank that pride from your life.” You're tempted, because frankly, there's nothing much more miserable than offended conceit, but it also feels good to blubber awhile. 'Poor old me. They don't appreciate me. I should have gotten that place, or they don't respect me, or they just chose that person because he's the son of someone important, or ”˜God, why do you promote that person and leave me here in such a little, insignificant spot?'” Sure it's miserable but you find that you've developed a pride reaction lifestyle.
I had a friend once, who was one of the nicest guys around. I didn't see him for awhile - then when I got to know him again, he was different. 'I don't let people run over me anymore!” he said. Actually, I don't think I had ever seen anyone try to run over him. But now they sure didn't disrespect him. Running over him was difficult because you could hardly get around him without him blowing up. It was like he was surrounded by a minefield and his pride was constantly going off. I liked the old fellow much better.
We have an awful time admitting that pride inspires our reactions and we call it all kinds of other names to camouflage it, but when we're honest with ourselves, we know. Proud people don't realize it but they don't win respect by fighting for it. They end up with an opponent that they didn't even know was against them.
'"God opposes the proud...” (1 Pi. 5:4)
Whoa! You mean if I get lifted up and act in pride that God Himself becomes my opponent? Yup. That's what it says. But read the rest of the verse:
"... but gives grace to the humble."
Boy, if there's anything I want and need, it's God's grace. Getting that pride pulled out hurts terribly but oh, how good it feels afterwards! The pain is gone. Probably our number one sin battle”"if you go to the root”"is waged against pride. And it's a daily fight, not just a one- time affair. Just like you constantly have to trim the grass, and your hair, nails--and nose hairs--you constantly have to battle against the nasty intruder of pride. But it's better than looking up to see God opposing you, isn't it?