As a little kid I had a chronic case of what could be diagnosed as “little brother syndrome”. It’s a condition in human males that seems to be recessive in females that makes little brothers blind to their lack of size, strength, or mental abilities in comparison to their older brother(s). The “gene” is carried through both parents and intensifies with each consecutive son. As the youngest of 4 consecutive sons my case was very prevalent. I noticed my attitude, big mouth, constant habitual teasing, yet runt like size growing up didn’t translate well for me. I didn’t realize or more truthfully simply didn’t want to realize that all my brothers were all bigger, older, stronger, faster, smarter, and wiser than myself. When an argument or wrestling match broke out I didn’t stand a chance… yet for some reason I couldn’t help but feel like I had the upper hand.
For example: One day Tyson was dishing out my just reward for something I had said and/or done and he hung me by my underwear on the doorknob in his room… and yes, this is a true story. I made all sorts of threats of what I would do once I got loose. However, with my feet not able to touch the ground and hands not able to reach the walls for leverage I struggled and struggled in vain. The harder I tried and struggled the worse the wedgy became. Yet even holding still the wedgy was constant due to my own body weight and gravity. I was like a fox caught in a trap whose only chance at freedom was to gnaw its own leg off… but in my case my “leg” was my underwear and to “gnaw it off” meant to struggle so hard that I would eventually tear through my own underwear which would take courage and inflict much pain but would eventually grant me my freedom. I actually remember contemplating that last option, but thankfully I decided against it and thus walk without a limp today. So, after fighting it way longer than I should have, I finally gave up and realized I had been completely neutralized by the dreaded “quicksand wedgy”. Tyson had created the equivalent to a plastic prison for Magneto (other nerds will understand) and I was powerless to escape. My words and threats were now exposed for what they truly were, empty and without force because I had not the ability to act them out nor could I force Tyson to budge on words alone. His strength had rendered me powerless and I had no power over him. Tyson’s strength had voided all my abilities to affect him or harm him. Eventually of course Tyson’s heart was softened and I was granted release. It’s also seems that time has since cured my “little brother syndrome”.
My intention today is not to speak of wardrobe malfunctions elicited by a third party but to speak of the lesson that can be learned from this. We have been told that God granted the adversary power to “bruise our heels” yet we retain power to “crush his head”. Think about that… that is a massive, huge, vast, gaping canyon of power difference between us! So how is it that we always seem to be on the defensive and so often we falter, and even falter continuously? I think it’s more complicated than a simple answer. Part of it is because we are not perfect. Part of it is likely because we choose to fail. We have been sent here to be tried and tested. We have been sent to prove how faithful we are, how strong we are, and to show our Father in Heaven essentially “what we’re made of”. We know that it will be an uphill battle as we constantly have to fight against not only the adversary but ourselves as we are all by nature “natural men”! The adversary is relentless, and refuses to yield, to stop or to give in. He has an army with him and is always recruiting to strengthen his side. He relishes in our demise and defeat. He salivates at our destruction and failure. In other words the little brother to our perfect Elder brother has the worst case of “little brother syndrome” eternity has ever or will ever see! His case is so prevalent and advanced that no amount of time or “quicksand wedgies” will ever or could ever cure it! With that against us can we succeed? If so, how do we succeed? How do we get to the point that we are truly seeing his tactics and influence for what they really are? How do we render him powerless?
I think the first thing to realize is that we are not perfect. We can’t hang our heads when we make a mistake. It’s why Christ sacrificed for us, and why the Atonement is so incredible. At the same time, we must realize the Atonement is there to use, not abuse. It’s also interesting to realize that it’s us, and only us who give him power. He can’t take anything we don’t give to him. If we give an inch, he will take 100 miles. With the power we are told he has vs. the power we know we have, not to mention the help and support we are given when we earn it… it seems we all at one point had him hung by his undies on the doorknob. Yet, when we entertain his words, start to listen, or believe his words, or think “just this once”, it seems the more and more power he seems to gain over us. He doesn’t care about us, he will do anything he can to influence us, he just wants off the doorknob!
I’m not trying to imply that this life is easy, that living perfectly is easy, or that I’m perfect. I’m simply saying with God it can become easier than we now find it. I say this because for every method, every tool and for every ability the adversary has, God has more than an answer. We have so much at our disposal for good! We have God and Jesus Christ! We have a living prophet who through God knows the adversaries playbook on each of us. We have the Holy Ghost and angels to help lead us, inspire us and influence us. In a nutshell we have been given, told, and warned of the adversary’s plan which he now employs or plans soon to employ. We are warned on what to watch out for. We are counseled on ways to prevent physical and spiritual harm to ourselves and our family. We essentially are allowed to see the bigger picture and the end of the book before it comes to be! We have so much more than those who oppose us! Or, in other words “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” To take that one step further I would even say “Those who are with us are more powerful than those who are with them”. We have been told from the beginning that we will be victorious… and we will there’s no doubt! With God we cannot fail! What I believe it comes down to is us individually. No matter how strong or weak we are, God can make us stronger. He can help us overcome all. He will give us power to withstand all that is placed before us because we know with our effort, our determination, and our own diligence to his word he will help us withstand the adversary. The most important thing is we have to want it, and do what is necessary to earn the help and protection of Heaven in our behalf.
Here are two scriptures I like on this.
1 Nephi 15:24