Gwen: “I’m sorry, George.”
George: “I don’t understand, things were going so great, what happened? Something must have happened?”
Gwen: “It’s not you… It’s me.”
George: “You’re giving me the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ routine? I invented ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. Nobody tells me it’s not them it’s me. If it’s anybody, it’s me.”
Gwen: “Alright. George, it’s you.”
George: “You’re **** right it’s me!”
For fans of Seinfeld, this conversation became an instant classic. Taking place in the Season 5 episode titled, ‘The Lip Reader’, this epic dialogue chronicled an exchange between George Castanza and his current-yet-soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend.
As with any heart-broken party, George is fishing for any crumb of insight, hoping to make sense of a seemingly senseless situation.
Blindsided… I imagine that is how George must have felt. I hear it in his voice. I see it in his response. I feel its full weight when George responded to Gwen’s ill-fated dropping of the “it’s not you, it’s me.”
Whatever the case, George was only interested in one thing and one thing only: he would not share his glory with another, no matter the level of self loathing it required him to stoop. He took great pride in championing ‘it’s not you, it’s me’, a phrase which has ended more relationships than the hairs that exist on Ben Parkinson’s majestic head of hair. (I’m not kidding, that mop is spectacular. If you have not beheld it in all of its beauty, you are robbing yourself of one of the great wonders of this world).
Without understanding the reasoning for the breakup, George knew that, fundamentally, the issue was internal. Whatever caused the split, George was well aware that it was merely a symptom leading to a much deeper, a much darker diagnosis that I must come to terms with everyday in my own life:
My name is Scott Fitzgerald and I do not have a problem… I am the problem. It isn’t you. It’s me. I am George Castanza.
Though I may not display the exact same rotten fruit as Castanza, the roots that have taken deep hold in my heart are exactly the same: I am broken by sin and I am powerless to fix me. If I’m really honest, I know I’m the problem; I simply do not recognize how to fix it. Often, I do not want to engage with the awful truth that I am the problem and I need the Gospel to plow the fallowed ground of my heart through repentance and belief. It is a daily fight.
Psalm 51 is a profound help to me in this battle. Read it. David penned this psalm of lament post adultery with Bathsheba, and I want to share a couple of nuggets with you.
- We see ourselves incorrectly. God will graciously send a Nathan in our lives to help us see our sin. Community leads us to experience the grace and the mercies of God.
- God responds to our cries for help out of His steadfast, loving, and merciful nature; not in response to mine. Psalm 51.1-2
- God’s gracious nature led to Jesus dying in my place. 2 Cor. 5.21
- Like David, I must be honest in confession of my helpless state (depravity) and the fruit of sin. This is why David recognizes both his transgressions (fruit of his nature) and his sinful nature (depravity). Psalm 51.3
- Jesus creates in me a clean heart, gives me Holy Spirit, & restores the joy of HIS salvation. Psalm 51.10-12
- Humbly confessing need for Jesus is worship. Psalm 51.15-17