Remember Pigpen from the Peanuts comic strip? He was always dirty and never seemed to be aware of it. Everywhere he went he left a trail of dirt and dust.
Many people (myself included, at times) are the same way in our lives. Wherever we go, behind us we leave a trail of pain, hurt feelings, anger, mistrust, and we aren’t even aware we are the cause. We may even think we are doing good! If we become aware of the devastation we are causing, we say things like, “I just said what they needed to hear” or “people just need to take me as I am”. We excuse our bad behavior as personality traits, or worse, as “speaking the truth (in love?)”.
The good news of Jesus is that part of what He came to accomplish, part of His re-creation of the world, is to remake each of us back to what we were designed to be. Thankfully, He doesn’t do this through some self help book or 12 step program (although those are useful tools). Instead, He puts His Spirit, and His guidance, and His power within us. He actually remakes our deepest self. That’s how we can answer His call to “be holy as I am holy” with “yes, Lord, work in me”, instead of “I’m doing the best I can”.
Now with Jesus living in and through us, we can leave a trail of love, joy, and peace, by practicing patience, kindness, and goodness, in an attitude of faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Only then with Jesus in us can we become anti-pigpens, leaving a wake of clean in place of dirty, wholesome instead of profane, happy rather than angry.
Go be Anti-Pigpens!