Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shmoos and their Kin

"No good deed goes unpunished."

—folk saying

Some of you may be old enough to remember the lowly Shmoo, Al Capp's pint–sized, pear-shaped, lovable, little creature that laid packaged eggs, gave grade–A milk and rendered sweet cream butter (no churning required).

A Shmoo swooned with ecstasy if someone wanted to eat it. If you looked at one hungrily, it would happily jump into a frying pan. Fried, it tasted like chicken; broiled it tasted like steak; roasted it tasted like pork; baked it tasted like catfish. Eaten raw, it tasted like oysters on the half-shell. If a Shmoo really loved you, it would lay a cheesecake, though Capp confessed, "This was quite a strain on its li'l innards…"

Shmoo's eyes made ideal suspender buttons; their whiskers made first-rate toothpicks; their pelts, cut thin, made fine leather; cut thick they made the very best lumber. Shmoos were supremely useful, happy, harmless creatures that loved people (especially children) and existed for no other reason than to do good to others.

Yet, according to Capp's sage, Ol' Man Mose, "Shmoos is the greatest menace to hoomanity th' world has evah known."

"Thass becuz they is so bad, huh?" asked Li'l Abner.

"No, stupid," answered Mose, uttering one of life's profoundest ironies. "It's because they're so good!"

In the end Schmoos were hunted down to extinction (except for a small remnant in Dogpatch), but a great enigma was resolved: Why do some folks hate good people? Simply because they're good
[1], that's why. No other reason. Darkness cannot tolerate the light!

So, don't be surprised if some folks hate you when you're trying to do the right thing. You can never be good enough to appease them. In fact, the better you are the more they will despise you. Remember: they hated the only really good person that ever lived; they hated Him, as they will hate you, "without cause."

But, no matter. No one can harm a truly good person.
[3]  Oh, they can slay the body, but they cannot harm the soul. So don't be surprised if people despise you. Keep a good conscience and return every act of hatred with a blessing. Bless and do not curse. "Be tenderhearted, courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this that you may inherit a blessing.[4]  

The blessing is happiness in this world and the next. No matter what people say or do, they can't take that away from you.


[1]John 3:19
[2] John 15:25
[3] 1 Peter 3:13
[4] 1 Peter 3:8,9 Peter is not insisting that we submit to physical abuse. The Bible makes a strong case for the necessity of force to restrain evil when it endangers human life. The state "carries the sword." Even individuals may defend themselves when physically assaulted. Augustine was perhaps the first to note that Jesus' instruction about turning the other cheek refers to an insult and not an assault. His argument is that, given the fact that most assailants are right-handed, an attacker would normally strike us on the left cheek. To turn when someone strikes the right cheek assumes a back-hand slap—an insult.

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