Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Opie and Trey

“Let us behave properly…not in strife and jealousy” -Rom. 13:13

Perhaps you’ve read this simple poem, “Living with brothers and sisters in heaven one day, oh won’t that be glory, but living with them down here on earth, now that’s a different story.” It's simply hard for people to get along. Interpersonal harmony requires maintenance and that maintenance is fueled by love. Paul spoke to the harmony issue a lot in his letters. As parents and grandparents, we need to speak to the topic too. We need to challenge those we love to "put away" strife, jealousy, and envy and embrace the choice of love.

You’ve heard my opinion before, but the producers of The Andy Griffith Show were masters of combining well-written life lessons with tremendous acting. Many of the episodes deal well with real life, everyday lessons. Most TV shows today just show real life difficulties without any moral lessons or solutions. Sad.

In “Andy and Opie’s Pal,” Opie makes a new friend, Trey, a fatherless boy who is visiting Mayberry with his mother. Trey is a good boy and he and Opie get along fine. That is until Andy also takes an interest in the boy and asks him to join them fishing. A jealous Opie then shuns his new friend and Andy tries to teach him the cost of jealousy and just dropping friends. Barney becomes the object of the exercise.

When Opie is rejecting his friend, Andy tries to make a point by telling Barney that he doesn't want him to go fishing with them. It hurts Barney’s feelings, which Opie observes. Opie realizes that he’s hurt Trey’s feelings and mends their friendship. Afterwards, Andy reminds Barney repeatedly, “I was just using you as an example. It wasn’t real. I do want you to come fishing with us.” In classic Barney fashion, he acknowledges Andy but still hangs on to the rejection. Barney gets over it, but more importantly, Opie learns an important lesson about friendship.

Opie learns that his father’s love for Trey doesn't lessen his love for Opie. Too often, sibling rivalry creates competition and jealousy between family and friends. Too often, we feel that friendships can't be shared. We react out of our own insecurity and impose needless boundaries and limits to love. Opie realized the depth of his father’s love and reconnects with Trey. He even gives Trey his prized, genuine football. Andy comments, “Opie, you gave him something better than that. You gave him a prized, genuine friend.”

Our kids need to understand the depth of our love for them. Of course, we need to be careful within our families to not show favoritism but to love everyone equally. When our kids experience the unconditional love of grace, they are free to grow into the children God intends for them to be.

Because not only are we teaching them about our love, but we’re ushering them into the love of God. We want them to accept the unconditional, graceful love of Jesus. We’re presenting to them a love that disciplines when necessary and loves always.

When relationships are based on that kind of love, then forgiveness and acceptance rule the day.

And we can all go fishing together.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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