In November 1952, Lucy first held the football for Charlie Brown. Most of us know the routine, which became predictable year after year. Each time, Lucy had a reason for pulling the ball away at the last second. In case you are wondering, Charlie Brown never did kick the football. In an interview, creator Charles Schultz said he could never allow himself to draw a strip with Charlie Brown kicking the ball; “It would change the mystique of Charlie Brown being Charlie Brown.”

Of course, you Peanuts experts know that Lucy actually did hold the ball one time for Charlie Brown to kick — but he missed the ball!

I found one blogger who had an interesting perspective. He wrote, “In 1953, is the true origin story for Lucy’s sadistic game. In this pivotal strip, Lucy herself struggles to kick a football. Over and over, she tries to punt the ball and flubs her kicks. And what does Charlie Brown do? He publicly and cruelly mocks her.”

Well, I found the strip in question and there was only one other character in it besides Lucy and Charlie Brown, so I do not see any public humiliation. However, Chuck did tell her that it was the worst kick he had ever seen, and that girls don’t belong on a football field. “Go on home!” She did … and took her ball with her!

Besides the ineptitude of Charlie Brown, I recognize a couple of unhealthy behaviors not uncommon in the human race. First, Lucy was trying to hide or compensate for her own inability by making someone else look bad. Second, she may have been retaliating for Chuck’s insensitivity towards her.

However, the positive lesson in it all is the fact that Charlie Brown never gave up on Lucy. He never stopped believing her, and he never stopped trying.

Following the teaching of Jesus, those with truly forgiving hearts do not limit the number of times they forgive; further, they continue to forgive with as much grace the thousandth time as they do the first time.

This type of forgiving spirit results from the Spirit of God living within us, and it is He who provides the grace to offer forgiveness over and over, just as God does for us.

Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.

Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.