Monday, January 12, 2009

A Cheerful Heart

In the last month, two people that I respect have talked about how they don't allow their children to watch Spongebob. One said he was gay and says some inappropriate things during the show, another stated that characters in the show are vulgar, picking their noses, farting, burping, etc. This had me mildly worried that Steve and I were becoming one of those parents - you know the ones who allow their children to watch obviously inappropriate things.
The other day while we were all watching Spongebob, Steve commented, "We should all be more like Spongebob. He always has such a positive outlook."
I began to think this over. Sure, characters in Spongebob display some behavior that I don't like - from greed (Mr. Crabs), to being nasty and self centered (Squidworth) - not to mention the regular farting, burping, nose picking, etc. They do show drunkenness as a bad thing - the characters who occasionally get drunk, usually on ice cream or bubbles, are in extremely bad shape afterwards.
However, Steve had a point - Spongebob is always cheerful. I noticed in the Stranglerepisode that while he was picking up a large amount of litter, instead of saying, "Those stupid kids! Don't they know where the damn trash can is?!", he took a more cheerful approach, "Hahahaha, those silly kids. Must have fallen out of their pockets."
When Squidworth is mean to him, Spongebob is always kind in return. When others need help, Spongebob is always ready to help them, cheerfully of course. Even in the Best Day Everepisode, Spongebob's best day revolves around his friends, not around himself. In an episode with Plankton, Spongebob tries to look past the "villain" mask that Plankton wears to see a lonely person in need of a friend and then acts on this, befriending Plankton and teaching him what "F.U.N." means. If we sift through the everyday living that the show has, there are some really great values being taught. (Not to imply at all that the show itself is educational.)
This sent me back to the scriptures where there are several references to being cheerful:
Proverbs 15:13A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.Proverbs 15:15All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:30A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.Proverbs 17:22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.Romans 12:8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.2 Corinthians 9:7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I felt some nudges from God about controlling my tongue more, yet have been ignoring Him. There is this co-worker at my work who drives me crazy. Every time I work with him, even for the 15 minutes our shifts overlap, I just want to bang my head against something blunt. Even now, I just want to list everything he does that drives me absolutely CRAZY! However, trying to think about this young man from God's eyes, I realize he is just lonely and seeking attention.
I have not shyed away from making my distaste for him known, both to him, my manager and Papau, and my co-workers, the whole while knowing this isn't a godly approach to what is driving me insane. As I think about what God has shown me through what some believe is a vulgar child's program, I am ashamed to say I lost my humility a long time ago. Spongebob may not try to teach my kids their "ABCs" or numbers, or shapes, or colors, or music (gotta love those Little Einsteins!) but he does teach me humility and being of a cheerful spirit.

6Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
(Titus 2:6-8)

No comments: