Friday, March 21, 2014

5 Keys - How to Live in Mayberry Today (5/5)

All week long, I've been talking about The Andy Griffith Show, and how nice it would be if we could somehow make the world we live in more like Mayberry. Some people may dismiss the idea, saying that times have simply changed too much or the show was just a work of fiction in the first place, but I honestly believe that this world can be changed if each of us takes responsibility for ourselves and tries to set a good example for others.

So far, I've covered four of the five keys I think would make it possible for anyone to live in Mayberry:
  1. Live with Grace - This includes things like tolerance, forgiveness, trust, helping each other, and just generally treating people with the same kind of respect you expect from them.
  2. Value Other People - This means putting the needs and feelings of others ahead of your own and learning to be humble. If you can do this one, it will be a big help in doing the first one!
  3. Seek Peace with Others - This goes hand-in-hand with the first two and emphasizes the importance of love, patience, and the ability to let things go. It means accepting people who are different from you, and it means looking for non-violent ways to resolve conflicts as often as possible.
  4. Lead by Example - It's important to remember that others see you and can be influenced by your lifestyle. It's important to model the Mayberry mindset consistently if you want others to see its value and start living it for themselves.
All of this leads us up to the fifth key, which might actually make the first four easier...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

5 Keys - How to Live in Mayberry Today (4/5)

Do you ever watch The Andy Griffith Show and wish you could somehow escape to Mayberry? Do you long for simpler times filled with lots of laughter and loving relationships? Well, over the past few days, I've been talking about some of the basic principles taught on the show, and I believe these ideals have the potential to change the world if you let them! If we all could learn to Live with Grace, to Value Other People, and to Seek Peace with Others, wouldn't that be a huge step in the right direction?

If you said yes to this, then you're ready for the fourth key to living in Mayberry...

4. Lead by Example

If you want to live in a world where people treat each other with love and respect, you make that happen by first learning to treat others the way you want to be treated and then trusting others and teaching them how to follow your lead. Whether you sense it or not, people notice the way you live. They notice how you act, the things you say, and they see the outcome of your lifestyle. You can influence the community around you just by setting a good example – and perhaps the most important influence you can have is on the children in your life. This is especially true for parents, but everyone should remember that children who see you can soak things up like a sponge!

Perhaps the clearest example of this is in “The Case of the Punch in the Nose”. In this episode, Barney finds a record of an assault case 19 years ago that was never officially closed. The case involved Charlie Foley, the grocer, and Floyd Lawson, the barber. Since both men still live in town, Barney decides to dig into the facts in an attempt to officially close the case. He is seeking legal closure, when he should be seeking peace! As a result, Floyd and Mr. Foley get fired up over something that should’ve been left alone, and they begin arguing and fighting again. Then others get involved, taking sides, and the next thing you know, the whole town is divided into two camps. The fighting is not limited to the adults, either: soon Opie is sent home from school for fighting with his best friend, and it turns out they were fighting over the same issue! The children have followed the poor example set by the adults!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

5 Keys - How to Live in Mayberry Today (3/5)

The Andy Griffith Show came on the scene in the 1960 - the beginning a decade marked by wars, civil liberty disputes, assassinations... It was not a peaceful time, but this show reminded people then, as it does now in reruns, of a simpler age and a better way of life. Wouldn't it be great if we could somehow turn back the hands of time and live in a world like Mayberry?

Well, I believe you can bring some of the magic of Mayberry into your world today, if you're willing to simply live by a few principles that were modeled for us on the show. A couple days ago, I told you that the first key to all this is to learn to Live with Grace. Then, yesterday, I said the second key is to Value Other People.

Today, I'll explore the third key...

3. Seek Peace with Others

We live in a world that’s filled with a lot of anger and bitterness and hate. People seem willing to go to court or to start a fight whenever anyone even makes the slightest mistake. Congress has become so polarized on both sides that they can’t get anything done without first playing their game of “political chicken” to see how close to the edge they can take us before we go over the ledge. Issues like racism, abortion and the same-sex marriage debate continue to divide the American people. But if we truly want to live in Mayberry, then we have to learn to seek peace with others.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 Keys - How to Live in Mayberry Today (2/5)

Wouldn't it be nice if we could go back to a simpler way of living? Wouldn't it be great if people learned to get along more and everyone seemed to genuinely care about those they came in contact with? Don't you just wish sometimes that life was more like The Andy Griffith Show? Well, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I believe you really can put some of the magic of Mayberry into your world today, if you're willing to live by just a few simple principles.

Yesterday, I talked about the first key to all this, which is learning to Live with Grace. This includes things like going "not so much by the book, but by the heart" (as Barney puts it) in the way you deal with people. It includes learning to give people a second chance, to forgive, to treat others the way you'd like to be treated. But this ideal isn't always easy to live up to, as I'm sure you already know.

That's why you also need the second key for living in Mayberry...

2. Value Other People

You might like to believe this is just common sense, but the truth is that many people today seem to be more concerned with “taking care of Number One” than with taking care of anyone else. The evening news is filled with stories about employees who didn’t care who they had to step on as they climbed the corporate ladder and parents who were more concerned with getting their next high than providing a safe environment for their children. Headlines tell of countless others who were willing to steal and cheat to get what they want with no regard for those who are hurt by their actions.

But in Mayberry, Andy and others give us example after example of a better way of life...

Monday, March 17, 2014

5 Keys - How to Live in Mayberry Today (1/5)

The 1960s was a decade marked by civil rights battles, the sexual revolution, an increase in drug experimentation, and the Vietnam War; yet one of the most popular TV shows in those days – The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) – reminded people of a simpler way of life. Week after week, Americans tuned in and journeyed to a place where folks genuinely loved and looked after each other. “Mayberry” may have been a fictional town, but for many, it was the place they longed to call home.

From its debut in 1960 until it went off the air eight seasons later, TAGS was consistently among the highest rated shows on TV, and it has aired continuously in reruns ever since. Part of the reason for the show’s longevity is that the lovable characters seem real. Most viewers can think of real life examples of Aunt Bee or Floyd the Barber – maybe you can even see a little bit of Barney in one of your friends or hopefully a little bit of Andy in yourself! Another reason the show has endured is because it's family entertainment that teaches family values. Sure, Otis gets drunk on a regular basis and Andy gets grumpy from time to time, but you'll never hear them cuss or make sarcastic insults at the expense of others, the good guys always win, and you're virtually guaranteed to end every episode feeling happier than when it began!

I’ve often heard people say how life would be better if we could all just live in Mayberry, and I’m inclined to agree. But I would also say that you CAN live in Mayberry today, if you want!

How is that possible?!

No, I’m not saying you should move your family to Mt. Airy, NC (Andy Griffith’s hometown, which many believe was the inspiration for Mayberry on the show). And no, you don’t have to give in to delusions and just pretend that everything is fine when it’s really not...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

In 1997, Jim Carrey was honestly hilarious in his role as Fletcher Reede, a fast-talking lawyer who has to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth for 24 hours after his son's magical birthday wish comes true. Now, sure Liar Liar is entirely a work of fiction, and it's just a bit of fun to watch as Fletcher convulses and talks in weird voices only because he can't lie... but I wanted to take some time to talk about it today because I think there are some really good truths hidden in amidst the fun for us!

First of all, the movie makes it clear that lying has a way of hurting both others and yourself.

In the beginning, it appears that Fletcher will lie to almost anyone to get what he wants. He lies to his co-workers so they'll all like him. He lies to the receptionist so he can avoid awkwardness. He even recruits his secretary to lie on his behalf, and he doesn't seem to have any remorse over it. But when Fletcher tells his ex-wife that he'll be there to pick up his son at a certain time and he doesn't show up, it hurts them. It hurts his son, especially, and knowing this upsets him, too.

Maybe you don't consider it a lie when you make a promise and you can't follow through because of circumstances beyond your control, but to the person on the other side, it still feels the same. You said you'd do one thing, and you didn't keep your word. Whether it was your fault or not, that doesn't always change things - especially not in Fletcher's case, where we learn that this is a long-standing pattern. After Fletcher fails to come through too many times, his ex finally decides she can't put herself or their son Max through this anymore, so she accepts an offer to move away and marry her boyfriend. She's not really ready for that step, but she has to do something to make a change.

Lies and broken promises will hurt the ones you love, and they will wind up hurting you, too! That's why the Bible says we should never lie, and it's better to not to make a promise at all than to make one you can't keep (Leviticus 19:11-12; Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight."
- Proverbs 12:22

Life would be so much easier if we all just told the truth all the time, then, right?

Well, maybe not...

This is the second big truth the movie shows us: Telling the truth can still hurt others and yourself.