I’m not sure why, but I can’t enter a Christmas season without celebrating the Peanuts gang and Charlie Brown!
I learned a life lesson from a cartoon awhile back – remember Lucy and Linus? Let’s observe Lucy today and come back tomorrow when we talk about Linus.
Who would think that attending the production of ‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ at Cornerstone University would leave an impression, other than a persistent smile? You would have recognized the personalities of all the characters. Happy-go-lucky Sally, Contented Linus with his famous Blue Blanket, Opinionated, Loudmouth Lucy, Philosophical Schroeder, Self-possessed Snoopy, and of course Perplexed but Optimistic Charlie Brown. The cast members played their parts with such authenticity, Charles M. Schultz would have given his endorsement. This congregated group could have been like the early church described in Ephesians 4. “…some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, attaining maturity and unity of the faith through knowledge of the Son of God”
During one scene of the play Lucy was persuaded to examine her crabby attitude and consider changing it to something more mellow in nature. Being confronted with a dose of someone else’s perception, was Lucy convinced of her acerbic behavior? What do you think? Would over-confident Lucy believe the assessment that she was crabby? I was surprised at her reaction. She set out to prove the judgment wrong. Lucy went from colleague to colleague asking for a candid evaluation of her personality. “On a scale of 1 to 100 how would you rate my crabbiness?” Kindly, but constructively each friend told the truth –without sugar coating. They were supportive in their truth. The result? Lucy was able to gauge the consequences of her attitude. In that moment, Lucy realized the course of her destiny could be altered by changing her attitude. Did she forever want to be remembered for being crabby; or for being amiable? And manipulative! Please – not manipulative! Back in Ephesians 4:14 Lucy realized she wanted to be nothing like those people from Ephesus “…tossed back and forth by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes.” Lucy could be perceived as cordial or hostile.
The storyline portrayed through years of the Peanuts cartoon will always need a Lucy because life is full of Lucy’s. They are loud and argumentative, rarely receptive to ideas of others. On a good day they are unpleasant; on a bad day intimidating. Loud Lucys! In the play, Lucy opened her mind to the probability that she had some work to do on her personality. What I learned from Lucy and what you can learn is instructed in Ephesians 4:15 “Practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head.” Lucy also learned that her friends were supporting her by being truthful about what they observed. Did you know that the word ‘support’ literally means to ‘increase the potential of another’? Here are a couple other Lessons from Lucy.
Wisdom – Lucy didn’t pridefully ignore the opinion of her friends when their consensus was obvious. Maybe Lucy prayed for wisdom because it’s difficult to know what to do when it means changing something that is part of who we are. She could have asked for wisdom like Solomon did 2 Chronicles 1:10 “Now give me wisdom and discernment so I can effectively lead this nation. Otherwise no one is able to make judicial decisions for this great nation of yours.” She could have. Or maybe she prayed for wisdom like we are all invited to do in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” And reading further in James 3: 13 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” And there is even greater benefit when we live it like James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
We are not all like Lucy with an audacious, brash personality. But there are other traits in our behavior we can modify so we can be effective team members, productive employees, understanding parents, patient grandparents, and peacemaking citizens. I love this idea from Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
United in mind and thought – I think it would be perfect for Lucy to stop by right now and shout that one out!