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Archive for the ‘CHARLIE BROWN AND THE FOOTBALL’ Category


Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

II Corinthians 7:1 – Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

In my previous devotional, I explained why Christians should want their kids to be like the Charlie Brown and Linus characters of the Peanuts comic strip and cartoons. In my follow – up, I wish to give a specific example of how adults can learn from Brown as well, and that example is none other than the running joke with Charlie attempting to kick the football that Lucy van Pelt was holding. For decades, fans of the comic strip and cartoons pressured Charles Schultz to allow Charlie to kick the football. They gave various reasons ranging from wanting to give the beleaguered Brown a victory, wanting the irascible Lucy to be put in her place, and merely desiring and anticipating a hilarious and/or touching reaction by Brown. Others still wanted Schultz to have Charlie Brown simply give up! After decades of insisting that Brown would always attempt to kick the football but never succeed – and explaining why – in the 1990s Schultz finally regrettably caved to fan pressure and allowed Brown to “experience success” in not only this area but others (i.e. finally allowing Brown to kiss “the little red – haired girl” and to get a girlfriend).

And I do say regrettably, because I agreed with Charles Schultz’s original point: that Brown should never kick the football because we do not always get what we want, no matter how hard we try or how deserving we feel ourselves to be. Meanwhile, it was vital that Brown always TRY to kick the football. Why? Because ceasing to try would mean giving up! No matter how often we seem to fail, no matter how embarrassing or painful the seeming failure, no matter how seemingly impossible the task, we must still always try, even if the outcome seems pre – ordained.

And not only was it vital for Brown to try to kick the ball, it was also necessary for him to try to kick the ball with Lucy as the holder. It was even necessary for Brown to allow Lucy to hold the ball not only during private playtime, but during football games in front of spectators, knowing that everyone watching would blame Brown for merely missing the ball. Sure, Brown could have gotten anyone else to hold the ball, and kicked the lights out of it, and marked himself a triumphant victor. It is what most of us would have done! And Brown could have assigned someone else as the holder during football games, or at the very least assigned someone else to kick the ball and bear the humiliation. But no, rather than change his fate of what appeared to be certain defeat and humiliation, Brown accepted it.

Why? My previous devotional spoke to the character of Charlie and Linus; their being Christians who lived by faith and hence exhibited virtue no matter the circumstance. It also spake of the other characters – including but certainly not limited to Lucy – who lacked a similar open Christianity and therefore lacked the accompanying virtue. How did this lack of virtue manifest itself in Lucy in this situation? By her insisting to Charlie Brown that she would hold the football only to pull it away at the last second! Her reason for doing so was not cruelty, but her very understandable fear that Brown would kick her hand; a fear made all the more pronounced by Brown’s apparent lack of athletic ability and overall competence. So why was it wrong? Because Brown put his faith in HER despite HER flaws, and she did not reciprocate. Because Lucy was not honest enough to admit her fears and decline to hold the football. Most of all, Lucy was unwilling to accept the risk – and potential sacrifice – that went along with her promise. She should have been so willing to stand behind her promise as to countenance a kicked hand if necessary! Instead, she was all too willing to break her promise and commitment – to make a lie – and let someone who gave her a chance suffer ill for her misdeeds. Even worse, she always avoided responsibility! Far from apologize, she would always offer an excuse or accusation as to why she failed to fulfill her promise. Even worse, during football games, she would allow everyone to believe that Brown merely missed the ball rather than owning up to pulling it! And Brown always meekly accepted responsibility, never accusing. Brown gave her chance after chance, and time and time again she acted the same way.

Do you question Brown for his persistent, loser behavior, and even claim that he deserved to be taken advantage of and humiliated in such fashion? You should not. To the contrary, Brown should be emulated! Of course Brown should forgive Lucy and give her another chance, and chance after chance. Why? Because upon asked how many times we should forgive a person, Christ said “70 times 7!” A person might say “Well, I can forgive Lucy, but I won’t forget. I won’t hold any hard feelings against her, but I will never let her kick the football again.” That is NOT forgiveness! Forgiveness is forgetting someone’s past sins, and giving them another chance! That is the same forgiveness that God gives you. Does God take your job away every time you take it for granted? Does God take your wife and kids away every time you look longingly at some supermodel, or lose your temper? No, God gives you another chance!

So you would say: “Well, OK, I will allow her to hold the football during private play, but not during football games.” So, unconditional love, forgiveness, and trust is fine so long as there is nothing at stake? Again, imagine were God the same way. Suppose that because of your many screwups, God decides “I will not slay him, but I will not entrust anything important to him. I will not give him a wife, children, an education, a desirable job, or a ministry.” No, God not only gives you another chance, but he gives you another chance with desirable things!

You might say: “Well, why does Charlie Brown take the blame for missing the football during games? Why doesn’t he just tell people that Lucy is pulling the football?” Well, we are Christians. It is our job to carry the cross like Simon the Cyrenian. We must turn the other cheek. We cannot be always looking to justify ourselves and shift blame! Do not the unsaved and the hypocrites do the same? Instead, we should be impervious to the darts and arrows thrown at us – especially if they come from the unsaved – and instead live to glorify God. Brown’s actions gave Lucy a chance to grow in character: to change! To feel guilt and be convicted over her selfishness and dishonesty, and either be willing to risk getting kicked in the hand to hold the ball, or at least come forward and admit to her teammates that she was pulling it. Were Brown to remove her from her from that task – her only one on the football team – or publicly crucify her with blame, what chance, what likelihood would she have of improvement? Indeed, there was a greater chance of her getting worse! Some would say “Lucy has to learn to take responsibility for her own actions.” That is culture, tradition, and religion; that is where that attitude comes from. Well, culture, tradition, and religion usually have nothing to do with being a follower of Christ. A follower of Christ would know that a person cannot take responsibility until they are morally and spiritually ready for it, and giving a person responsibility for which they are not ready both harms the person and whatever task that they are entrusted with. And a true follower of Christ would know that giving a person a chance to develop their character and integrity is well worth suffering temporary embarrassment or the outcome of a ball game.

You must remember: we as Christians walk with the unsaved. We as Christians walk with people who are saved but not delivered from evil spirits and sinful habits. We as Christians walk with people who are saved but are not hearing correct instruction about how to live as Christians, or who hear but cannot understand or refuse to obey. How else can these people be helped except God use us to? God created man in his own image, including having a will of his own. Except for rare and unusual circumstances, God is not going to just snap his fingers and cause a person to act in a certain way. God wants people to choose to act the way He wants them to act of their own free will. The best way to influence someone to act the way that God wants them to is to show them a Godly example. Sure, you are supposed to pray for them; for God to chance their hearts. But then YOU have to go out and do YOUR job. Did you ever think that when you pray for God to change someone’s heart, he will decide to use YOU to help change it?

Another way to influence someone is to be so good to them, so caring and selfless that you melt their resolve. These people may be acting in such a way because they are under the influence of demon spirits. They may be saddled down with all the anger, fear, and cynicism that comes from a lifetime of disappointment and hurt. They may have decided that the only way to make it in this world is to look out for number one and to hurt other people to get what they want. If all they see is a bunch of people acting the same as they do to one degree or another – with “religious” people being the worst – then how are their hearts are ever going to be touched? Sure, the first time they encounter you, they are going to see you as a live one; a free lunch, and take advantage of you. It may take a few times. It may take hundreds of times over many years! But you need to keep praying for them. You need to keep forgiving for them. You need to keep the faith that a person can change, and that God can use you to change them!

That is why you cannot stop trying to kick the football. As Jesus Christ said, do not take the easy way, take the hard way! If you stop trying to kick the football or get someone else to kick it, who are you helping? Lucy never learns trust and integrity if you just give up on her. Furthermore, who says that the person you get to replace Lucy with is perfect? You might get someone who is willing to hold the football, but needs deliverance or improvement in another area of his or her life. So you get some thief, some adulterer, some homosexual, some liar, or whatever to hold the football, you kick the cover off that sucker, and dance around like you are some hero? That makes everyone else worse off than they were before. Lucy is still dishonest, but now you have added rejection to her plight. The person that you replaced Lucy with still has his or her problems, but you have given him or her something fake that will only delay his or her seeking the help that he or she really needs. And you? Well, you are just a quitter. Not only that, you are a hypocrite. Not only that, you are selfish. You are unwilling to show the same grace, mercy, charity, and forgiveness that you beg God for every night to someone else whom you would be were it not for God!

The main thing to remember is that Charlie Brown is not a loser! People who get taken advantage of, used, abused, and scorned while they are showing patience, forgiveness, charity, selflessness, love, and otherwise do the will of God are not losers! They are winners! They only seem to be losers when viewed through the temporary lens of corrupt humanity; of people who only seek to fill their selfish desires. But to the Eternal, people who take up the cross and bear the burden for His Name and the Name of His Son are winners! Look at how God uses such people! Imagine all the lives that they change, indeed save! Not just with their prayers, but by being prayers in action: by being God’s robots; being the extensions of God’s Hands fulfilling God’s Word! The person that abuses you, uses you, and mocks you today may yet be your brother or sister in Christ tomorrow. Now tomorrow may be a long time coming, but when it happens, glory to God! But if you give that person like treatment or simply cut that person off, how is that person’s change going to come?Look at Jesus Christ. If there was certainly one who appeared on earth to be a loser, he was it. Born in a stable, a blue collar worker, rejected by the rulers of the temple, betrayed by one of his best friends, delivered by his own people to their oppressors, chosen to die over a murderer, and not only crucified between a pair of thieves with his mother and believers watching. But we all know that Christ was not a loser! He was a winner! Because he took the hard way, because he took on the pain and humiliation and rejection, he died for our sins and reconciled with us with the Father. And then he rose again so that we could rise again! Sure, Christ could have been a wealthy dapper gent with many wives and children and all earthly pleasures surpassing that of even Solomon, and lived forever. He could have crushed all who doubted and rebelled against him just by speaking, or he could have just had legions of angels do his dirty work. That would have been fine for him; a life fitting the Son of The Most High God. But where would that have left us? Death, hell, being tormented by demons and sickness, and the lake of fire!

And this applied not just to Christ. The apostles and disciples in the New Testament and even many of the prominent characters in the Old (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.) lived hard lives doing thankless tasks in order to help lead their people closer to God. Not only was it worth it for the sole reason that they were doing the will of their God, but it was worth it because of the lives and souls that they saved. Peter went as low as one can imagine: denying Christ when Christ needed him most, and even after being restored back to his position he was crucified upside down by the Romans! And how many times was Paul beaten and imprisoned before he was finally killed by the Romans? How many times did Moses prevent God from destroying the children of Israel in the desert? And how did they repay him? By rebelling against him, complaining, attempting to kill him, forcing his brother to make the golden calf, and even provoking him to the point where he disobeyed God and hence was not allowed to enter The Promised Land. Yet Moses continued to serve God by serving his people! Like Charlie Brown, we must do the same.

Prayer:Father God in the name of Jesus Christ, please make me selfless, patient, and longsuffering in my dealings with your children. May I live not to glorify and uplift myself but rather You. Lord, please use me to help cause changes in the lives of others, especially leading people to salvation and deliverance. Lord, please make me willing to do the job for you that others are hesitant or unwilling. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Deliverance:The demons that operate in this area are pride, selfishness, and hypocrisy. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!


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