That old show was the original Perry Mason, which debuted on CBS on September 21, 1957 and ran until May 22, 1966. It was television's first weekly one hour drama. Based on Erle Stanley Gardner's books, it was every bit the hit they were, collecting a Golden Globe and at least 4 Emmys, along with a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. I remember hearing that stirring music as my parents watched the show from the warmth of my bed as a very small child. I was an adult before I ever saw an episode or read one of the books.
As for that line of dialogue, it was spoken by Raymond Burr as he portrayed the eminent lawyer. I stopped mid-rep, losing count completely. What was that I had heard? I repeated it to myself at least three times so I wouldn’t forget it—maybe—and it was weighty enough a thought that it did stay with me until I could write it down. “This one I must use sometime,” I thought, and then suddenly realized that God has been using it for millennia, sort of.
“Face the truth about yourself,” we say. He says:
Be not wise in your own eyes…Prov 3:7.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death, Prov 16:25.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart, Prov 21:2.
There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth, Prov 30:12.
He feeds on ashes, his deluded mind deceives him, he cannot rescue himself,,,Isa 44:20.
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise, 1 Cor 3:18.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself, Gal 6:3.
If anyone thinks he is religious but does not bridle his tongue and deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless, James 1:26.
Your head should be spinning by now. How many times have I deceived myself into ignoring rebukes and shunning well-intentioned advice? And then, when it all falls apart and I am left hurt and weeping, did I ever once stop and think over that advice and those rebukes again and think maybe—just maybe—I should have listened? Maybe—just maybe—I am not as astute as I seem to think I am. Oh, I say the right words (“I am not perfect”), but when the fruit reveals itself in my actions, everyone knows I cannot be reasoned with because “My case is different.” So many people think themselves the exception to the rule that you wonder why God bothered to write a guidebook for us—it doesn’t apply to anyone!
A rebuke should make me stop and consider, not stomp and smolder. Yes, that is still difficult. I am not sure it ever becomes easy. But those scriptures up there say that if I do not consider, the vengeance I wreak with my answering anger to the one who cared enough to try, will only destroy me.
“If you want to feel better, take a pill. If you want to BE better, face the truth about yourself.”
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. Jas 1:22-25