There’s nothing quite so humbling, or humiliating, than to be in church with a broken zipper in your fly.
I had just finished my business in the bathroom and I must have gripped the pull tab of my zipper a little too hard. I zipped up but nothing came together. The glorious unity displayed in the joining together of the metal tangs in my zipper did not take place. My pants were undivided permanently, despite my begging and pleading in the moment.
So, I fastened the top of my pants, praising God there was a button that worked, untucked my shirt and pulled it down as far as possible in the front.
My wife was coming to pick me up on the other side of the church building from where I was, so I had to walk through the crowded common area. I tried my best to be inconspicuous, which is hard to do when you’re the campus pastor walking through a crowd in the church building. I noticed a couple of people looking at me strange and wondered if I was not sufficiently covered. That’s when I realized I was walking all hunched over, trying to give the front of my shirt the slack it needed. So I pulled on my jacket, even though it had turned warm, and zipped up the front to help my situation.
I had just made it to our meeting point when my wife sent me a text telling me she was going to be late.
I quickly found an out of the way chair to sit and wait for her to arrive. I placed my backpack in my lap as if it were a shield. I pulled out a book, and pretended to read, hoping people would catch the understanding that I wasn’t interested in conversation. Suddenly, I was surrounded by friends and church members who desperately needed to talk. One of them even needed prayer. I tried to act casual and asked them to sit across from me so we could informally talk.
Finally, everyone left, and my wife finally arrived.
“Hi,” she said. “Would you like to go out to eat?”
“Ah, no,” I replied.
We read in Proverbs 11:2 that Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
I can say that in the moments of my humility (or humiliation) I was very much aware of my every appearance and interaction with others. I considered every step I took and every word I said with precision and accuracy. I thought more about what the other person heard (and saw) and kept direct eye contact with them as much as possible.
I learned two valuable lessons that day.
- Wisdom does come from humility.
- I’m keeping an extra pair of pants in my office from now on.