Lighten up, Francis!

By Jeffrey Bellant September 30, 2021 781

It’s one of the many funny scenes in the ’80s-era Bill Murray comedy “Stripes.”

Murray’s character John Winger, a slacker with no direction, and his buddy decide on a whim to join the Army.

Of course, boot camp is a nightmare for them.

The hardnosed Sgt. Hulka makes Winger’s life miserable – and vice versa.

In one scene. Hulka, played by Warren Oates, brings the platoon together so each of them can share a little bit about themselves.

During the discussion, the character Francis, a total nutjob, insists that the platoon members refer to him as “Psycho.” If anyone calls him Francis, he says, “I’ll kill you.”

He mentions several other rules regarding how he wants to be treated, warning everyone if they don’t follow his rules, “I’ll kill you.”

When he’s done, Hulka immediately says, “Lighten up, Francis.”


Today, we live in a society where far too many people are like Francis – angry and miserable and they want to take it out on everyone else. Government officials and mainstream media members are only making the situation worse. Meanwhile, social media is “Call of Duty” but with unlimited ammo.

A person used to try and persuade others to their point of view. Now we’re trying to beat each other into submission – or we demonize those who differ from us.

Government has given up on persuasion altogether and now focuses on coercion and encourages private business to do the same.

The worst part is the leaders who lecture us don’t follow the rules themselves – then they wonder why people push back. And none of them are accountable.

When was the last time a federal bureaucrat was fired?

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

This reminds me of a marriage class I took in church once. There were lots of good tips, but one sticks with me today.

The concept is “disrespectful judgment.”

The idea in marriage – or any relationship, really – is that sometimes we don’t like what our spouse says or does and we immediately assume bad motives.

We may just completely misunderstand why our spouse has said or done something. That’s a disrespectful judgment. My wife and I use it to this day when we feel like the other has misunderstood us.

In society today, we use disrespectful judgments all the time. Someone cuts me off in traffic and I assume they’ve done it on purpose, though they may have simply not seen my car. People disagree on a government policy, and someone accuses the other person of being stupid, even if they have a good reason for their position.

Bottom line, we need more grace. We need more humility. We need to hold our tongues. As the Bible states, “…be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry...”

Or as Sgt. Hulka said.

“Lighten up, Francis.”


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Last modified on Thursday, 07 October 2021 04:16