I love children’s books. That may surprise you, but if you know me very well it probably won’t. One of my favorite authors is Roald Dahl. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with his work, you’ve undoubtedly seen some of the movies based on his work: James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, The BFG and (my favorite) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In the 1971 movie featuring Willy Wonka, Grandpa Joe and Charlie Buckets, comes the climactic scene near the end of the movie--Charlie is literally the last child standing after Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop and Mike Tevee had all lost any semblance of self-control. You can see what happens here:
Now, I’d like to think I’m a good communicator. We probably all do. But I’ve learned this about myself in my 49⅝ trips around the sun on planet Earth...I struggle to tell the truth. Now, I’m not saying that I have a lying tongue. That’s far from the truth. But I’ve realized that I have learned a terrible habit: I struggle to speak honestly about who I am and what really matters to me. Not everyone has this problem...some have no issue letting you know exactly where they stand and what they think, but that’s not always me.
One of the deep challenges of growing deeper with God is the ability to see yourself as you really are. And this is HARD WORK! My experience has led me to believe that it’s through the mirror of God’s Word, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of godly people that we are able to acknowledge who it is that we are and how we’ve gotten there. Many of us don’t really want to go there because we may not like what we see. At least that’s been true in my own experience.
My particular “situation” over the years has been avoidance. Avoid confrontation. Avoid that difficult conversation. Avoid speaking up for myself just to keep the peace...avoid, Avoid, AVOID!!!
How’d that work out? It took me more than 20 years to deal with a situation that’s gone from bad to worse. 20 years. 20 YEARS!!! Can you imagine the damage done because I couldn’t be honest with myself? Let alone, being honest with God, asking for His help and allowing Him to influence my heart to a more godly and honest posture. So I’m working hard on being more honest with myself and with my God. But what I’m realizing that it’s not in my own power...it’s the work He’s doing inside of me.
Charlie Buckett had that kind of moment. A moment of honesty. A moment in which he decided to do the right thing. Did you hear what Willy Wonka says when Charlie leaves the Everlasting Gobstopper on his desk? “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” I’m not sure we ever quite get how being obedient in little things “shines in a weary world.” We live in a world that is dying for Christians to be honest...a world where Christians living in fear seem to propagate anything in order protect our values and lifestyle.
Novel idea: Let’s live honestly acknowledging our faults and being honest with both God and men. In that way Jesus’ words in 1 Peter 2:12a come true in our lives, “Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices.” Honest to God, that’s what I aspire to...