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So Do I, Charlie Brown

18 January 2010 3 comments

In Peanuts, there’s a series of Christmas strips where Lucy and Linus are putting on a show of affection toward each other, in an effort to gain Santa’s favor and garner more presents.  Their charade, naturally, makes the upstanding Charlie Brown sick to his stomach.  In a subsequent strip, Patty calls Charlie Brown out for hypocrisy:  “You’re just as greedy as everyone else, Charlie Brown!  Don’t come around here with your lectures and your moaning and groaning about everybody being greedy!  You’re no different than the rest of us!”

“I am too!” Charlie Brown shouts back.  “I FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!”

So do I, Charlie Brown.

I’m good at feeling pangs of conscience for all the terrible things other people are doing, while somehow staying numb to my own sins.  “Does he not realize what a waste of time that is?”  “I don’t think she understands how disrespectful she’s being.”  “Why won’t he listen to what God says about that?”  All those questions spill into my mind even while I’m throwing away my time, dishonoring my elders, and ignoring my Bible.

The Apostle Paul has words for me:  “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.  For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1)

Self-righteousness can justly be described as odious, putrid, repugnant.  To be more plain, it smells like poop.  God hates it.  I hate it – that is, when I detect its scent on other people.  I can be a super-sniffing Pharisee, able to point out exactly what it is about ol’ So-and-So that stinks to high heaven.  But God demands that I quit sniffing other people, and take a whiff of myself.

Lord, give me a nose for the reek of hypocrisy in my own heart, rather than in the hearts of those around me.  Make me sick to my stomach at my sin, and lead me to forsake it and embrace you again.

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