Ever said something you later regretted? Don’t feel bad; we have all ‘stuck our foot in our mouth’ at one time or another.
How about congratulating yourself prematurely over some moral achievement only to fail miserably when presented with another, similar opportunity. This is not to be confused with ‘sticking your foot in your mouth’ because you never opened it in the first place. This is known as ‘tearing your rotator cuff while patting yourself on the back’.
Proverbs describes it this way. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Let me give you a personal example:
One morning, while driving for Lyft, I picked up a teenage girl. She had purple hair, numerous body piercings, several tatoos and wore army boots. As she settled in the back seat, my first thought was that I wouldn’t have anything to talk to her about.
I was about to turn on my favorite sports radio station, when I decided to give small talk a try. I asked her how her day was going and for the next forty-five minutes we talked non-stop. Her parents had divorced and I was taking her to visit her father. She talked about her battle with depression. She was a victim of physical and internet bullying. Her means of coping was to cut herself. When that didn’t help, she overdosed on prescription drugs. Her heart had stopped by the time the medics got to her but by the grace of God she survived.
She had been to counseling and was very articulate in conveying her feelings and observations about her mental state. I told her how special she was and that I believed God had given her a second chance at life. As I pulled into her father’s driveway, she thanked me for “the best conversation she’s had in a long time.”
For the rest of the day, I felt good about that conversation as well; especially for taking the initiative to begin a dialog despite my first impressions of her.
Later that afternoon, I was tired as I arrived at a restaurant where two middle-aged women waved at me to confirm I was their driver. I pulled my car close to the picnic table where they were finishing up their meal.
One wore puffy, pink slippers and what appeared to be a tattered flannel bathrobe. She took a long drag on her cigarette and slowly drug it through the leftovers on her plate. They talked for a while before her companion reached into her purse. Good! She must be pulling out her wallet to pay the bill. Instead, she held a pack of cigarettes in her boney hand, shook out one for herself and offered another to her friend. They both lit up and resumed an animated conversation.
I felt my blood pressure rising. Should I toot my horn to get their attention or perhaps pump the accelerator a few times. Maybe I could just shoot them a terse text. I chickened out and began to lower the passenger side window. I was about to ask if they really wanted a ride when they both stood and took a few steps toward the car. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke so I was about to ask them to put out their foul smelling death sticks before entering my clean car, when they stopped to chit-chat some more. JERKS!!!!
I put the car in reverse, backed up parallel to them, leaned across the passenger seat and pushed open the door. They got the hint. The skinny one pinched out the flame and shoved her cig back into her purse while pink slippers flicked hers at my car.
I said, “Hello” between gritted teeth as they plopped into the back seat. They didn’t return my greetings but continued with their conversation. I turned on the radio a louder than I normally would and sped away from the restaurant.
Halfway to their destination, pink slippers told me (not asked…not requested) but told me to stop at a 7-11 so she could buy more cigarettes. I asked where it was and she replied that it was five or six miles after her drop-off spot. I bit my tongue before asking if she could perhaps purchase cigarettes at a convenience store on the way to her home.
“Nope,” she replied. “I want to see my friend who works at the 7-11.”
I thought about slamming the brake peddle into the floor to perform a safety check of my seat belts when the skinny gal put her hand on her friend’s lap and said, “Let the man stop at the Mobile station just ahead. He’s spent enough time with us.”
As pink slippers was inside buying her cigarettes, her friend tapped my shoulder. I turned and she held out a $10 bill. “Thank you for being so patient and kind. My friend can be a little demanding at times.”
“You don’t have to do that,” I said rather sheepishly.
“Take it,” she answered. “You deserve it.”
No-I definitely did not deserve it. I felt God took my unclean thoughts and smeared them all over my face – but He’s not that petty. I had to eat some humble pie that day. Thank you God for revealing my pride to me. I’ll try to do better next time.