Thursday, November 1, 2007

Life Lessons from the Smurfs

Remember the Smurfs? Those little blue guys were a cultural phenomenon that helped bind my generation together. I think you would be hard pressed to find a person of my age whose childhood memories don’t involve watching the Smurfs on Saturday mornings.

One of the key Smurfs was named Jokey, and as the name suggests, he was constantly playing tricks on everyone. His favorite gag was to give the other Smurfs a “present,” which when opened would explode in their faces. The box was always the same – yellow with a big red ribbon.

As a child, I never understood why the Smurfs kept on accepting Jokey’s gifts. I mean come on – they ALWAYS exploded! Couldn’t the other Smurfs just learn their lesson and stop opening those things? But now as an adult I think maybe Jokey’s antics were the cartoon writers’ way of making a deeper statement.

How many people have you known who just keep going back to something that is harmful to them? I think about a girl I knew in high school who would sleep with a guy and feel horrible about herself afterwards. But then she’d go right back out and hook up with another guy, thinking it would somehow give her what she was looking on the next go-round. It invariably failed.

So why did my friend get caught in that loop, and why do we, even on a smaller day-to-day level, continue to do things that are bad for us? And more importantly, how do we get off the merry-go-round? I think Paul gives us the answer in Romans 7:18-25:
“I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway…I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

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