If the Independent, London’s daily newspaper, is correct Pope Francis may inspire a new version of the Bible: The Bible According to Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio.
If you’ve forgotten the story line of this mesmerizing fairytale for children, it focuses on a craftsman named Geppetto, the puppet he made and named Pinocchio, and his desire that his creation would be a real boy.
When the Blue Fairy hears the wish of Geppetto, she works her magic and in a mystical moment, she infuses the wooden puppet with the gift of life. To help him know right from wrong, the Blue Fairy appoints Jiminy Cricket as his conscience: “I dub you Pinocchio’s conscience, lord high keeper of the knowledge of right and wrong, counselor in moments of high temptation, and guide along the straight and narrow path. Arise, Sir Jiminy Cricket.”
In an interview referenced by the Independent, Pope Francis is reported to have said: “Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.” While I have no way of asking the Pope to clarify his statement, it sounds like he’s been dazzled by Disney and wished upon one too many stars.
Are we to believe that as long as a pedophile does not disobey his conscience he is not sinning. What about a sociopath and his conscience? With apologies to Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy, when the conscience goes stag a person is left in rags and unconscious of his spiritual failings.
I know it may sound a little old school and politically incorrect, but Jesus didn’t say, “Let your conscience be your guide.” He said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:3).”
I had to get my atlas out last night to make sure I wasn’t lost. It seemed like whether I was listening to my radio, watching TV, or reading the newspaper, people were whining: “I deserve this,” or “I didn’t deserve that!” I thought I had been mysteriously transported to Whinersville.
Whining, mumbling, and grumbling is a worldwide problem of epidemic proportions. Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, and the good old USA are afflicted with this debilitating attitude.
This must be a centuries old problem because both Peter and Paul said people should be careful about the expression of their attitude:
- Peter said we should, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (I Peter 4:9).”
- Paul said to, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation (Philippians 2:14-15).”
Before you complain to God, and say: “This is something I don’t deserve.” Think about it. Do you really want Him to serve you a plateful of what you deserve? When God fills my plate, I’m like a child: I want a tiny portion of the Brussel sprouts of His judgment and heaping-helpings of His mercy-filled dips of mashed taters and cream gravy. I never want what I deserve—the wilting heat of His anger. I’d much rather bask in the Son-shine of His forgiveness.
Like David, we can find comfort in the loving nature of God and shout: “Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; and, Your abundant loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You . . . guide me along Your path, so that I will live in Your truth (Psalm 86:10-11).” Even whiners grow mute and their grumbles are silenced when they turn their thoughts to God’s “abundant loyal love.”