Mar 24

I Am Barney Fife


Do you ever have one of those moments when you see what you look like in another person?  I was watching an old episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” with my family and had that experience.  I forget the exact script but the plot was something like this.  Barney had done something stupid, but instead helping him face his mistake everyone around his was making it appear better than it was because he was “so sensitive” (prideful).  As I watched the episode I became more and more disturbed at Barney and the behavior of his friends.  Why was it necessary for those close to him to go to such great lengths to protect his pride.  Then a thought hit me, “I am Barney Fife.” 

As I thought about it, it became clear that this plays out in my family every week.  Dad is so “sensitive” (prideful), that at certain times my wife and family have to tiptoe around me, to keep from either wounding my “sensitive pride”, or feeling the sting of my satirical wit.  So I see my wife weighing how honest she can be with be at any given moment, or maybe abandoning saying anything at all and retreating.  I see my children keeping their distance from Dad, or worse the look on their faces when a stinging remark lands home.  Sometimes in these moments I think, “I don’t know why they are taking that so hard, it wasn’t that bad a comment.”  If I am honest I have to take a different approach.  I am responsible for controlling my behavior and learning to temper how I relate to my family, so that I am a “life giver” instead of a “pain inflicter.”  I am the one who should model maturity and should be sensitive to how I effect them.  Their responses should rock me, they should bring me to my knees asking God for understanding and help with controlling my tongue.

The more I think about this the more humbled I am by these sights around me.  A truly mature and Godly Man should be “man enough” to hear the truth or gentle enough to coax the real feelings from my loved ones hearts.  I am supposed to be calling them to life, modeling what godliness looks like, instead I am training them to guage when then can be honest with me, or how to run for cover, or stay a safe distance away from me when I am “in a bad mood.”

God help me to see myself as I really am.  Release me from the pride that keeps the blinders on my eyes and places the responsibility for my actions on others.  Free me from the delusions I have about my self so that I can truly see my own heart.  I want to be free from the pride that has me crouching in a corner ready to pounce on anyone who exposes me for what I really am.

True freedom is not in being perfect but being free to admit that I have messed up and care for the mess I have created.  As long as I am protecting or defending myself and my actions I am not free.  When I can be grieved by what I have done and care for the other person, I am truly free.  When I can glory in my shame to help someone else along then I am truly free.  The verdict for now is that I am partially free, or situationally free.

1 comment

  1. Annamae Deasis

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this page.

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