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‘Can’t cut it out’

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

March 16, 2022

While life keeps reminding me that I’m getting older, there are parts of me that refuse to grow up.

One example of that: I absolutely love animated films, especially Disney movies. While I find some of the newer movies enjoyable (I adored “Coco” and liked “Encanto”), the Disney movies I grew up with – “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” – will always be my favorites.

Last week, as I reflected on the Gospel reading of the First Week of Lent, I was struck by the very last line: “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.”

It was the “for a time” that made me pause. It didn’t say “he departed from him, never to be seen again.” The “for a time” makes it clear the devil wasn’t done yet. He’d be back.

So, what’s the connection between that and Disney?

Reflecting on that line, I thought of a scene from probably my favorite Disney movie ever: “The Lion King.” In that scene, the main character, a lion named Simba, was approached by a Mandrill monkey, Rafiki. Rafiki is repeatedly singing a song.

“Come on! Will you cut it out?” Simba says.

“Can’t cut it out. It’ll grow right back,” Rafiki responds.

Isn’t that the way it is as we try to address the sinful parts of our nature? God shows us an area of our lives where we need to improve, He shows us how we separate ourselves from Him. With His grace, we try to overcome that sinfulness as we try to grow closer to God.

Maybe it’s just me (though I don’t think it is), but I’ll do well relying on God’s graces and trying to overcome my sinfulness for a time, and then my sinfulness tends to pop back up, my humanity embraces it, and I fall into it again.

“Can’t cut it out. It’ll grow right back.”

The devil is never done with us. He may leave us “for a time,” but he’s pretty persistent.

As we move through this season of Lent, we focus on addressing those parts of ourselves that we use to prevent us from getting closer to God. While it sometimes drives me crazy that I keep battling the same sins and the same character defects, I’m fairly confident those battles will never end. Even if God manages to remove one sinful part of my nature, there are plenty of others left to address.

Luckily, God is even more persistent than the devil. His grace is always there for me when I need help overcoming my sins. His mercy is always there when I fail.

You can’t cut that out, either.

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