Climbing Down from Our High Horse
By Ed Delph
July 30, 2018
Did you ever get yourself into a difficult position by boasting? Hubris has been the ruin of many a poor man, hasn’t it? Today I would like to share with you a supposedly true happening. I did a search on the truthfulness of this happening, but I could not verify it. But, as they say in West Texas, if it didn’t happen, it could have happened. If it could have happened, it should have happened. Therefore, because it should have happened, it did happen.
Here’s the title of the supposedly true story in a newspaper: Texas Beer Joint Sues Church in Mt. Vernon, Texas. Again, I’m not saying this is true, but it sure could be, therefore, it probably is. In this case, I defer to what Ashleigh Brilliant once said: "My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating."
A bar began construction on an expansion of their building to increase their business. In response, the local church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding with petitions and prayers. Work progressed right up until the week before the grand reopening when lightning struck the building and it burned to the ground.
After the bar burned to the ground due to the lightning strike, the church folks were rather smug in their outlook, bragging about "the power of prayer." The bar owner heard about their boasts and sued the church on the grounds the church "was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means."
In their reply to the court, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise. The judge read through the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's reply. At the opening hearing, he commented; "I don't know how I'm going to decide this. It appears from the paperwork we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer and an entire church congregation that now does not."
There’s a predicament for you! Allen Drury notes men defend nothing more violently than the pretenses they live by. Have you noticed people talk on principle but act on their interest? Konrad Adenauer said we all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.
This story, whether true or false, makes a point. Self-interest can blind us and take us to places we don’t want to go. I’m not talking about drinking or praying against drinking. I’m talking about the reaction after the action. I’m talking about boasting because of the self-righteous pride that leaks out of us when we need to be right. Sometimes people even use God for own self-validation or, as in this case, for a spiritual badge of honor. Let’s say it this way: Nothing is so hard to do gracefully as getting down from your high horse.
To those in the church, I say let’s be wise when God acts on His behalf. There’s no need to take credit for something that God may or may not have done. C.S. Lewis says a proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, if you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.
Perhaps our approach could be to give God the glory for the great things He has done, not we have done. The Bible says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. One thing is for sure according to Buddy Robinson, “Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it.”
Remember, the only difference between run and ruin is ‘i’!
Ed Delph July 30, 2018 CCC Verse James 4:6
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
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