I’ve heard of people watching movies with the express intent of trying not to be persuaded by anything communicated in them. That kind of thinking is not Reformed. Now we shouldn’t be oysters and watch or suck in everything without thought. But if you’re only on the defensive, you’ll miss a lot of really good stuff.
I was flipping through the channels Saturday night and came across American Beauty, a movie I had already seen. Now the movie is quite disturbing, somewhat graphic, and I don’t recommend it. However in the few minutes I watched, I heard something quite profound. The teenage daughter’s friend said, “Don’t leave, and you should listen to me because I’m your friend!” The daughter’s boyfriend responded, “You’re not a friend. She’s just someone you use to feel good about yourself.”
How many “friendships” are just relationships where one party is using the other to feel good about him/herself through physical attraction, pleasure, social status, etc….? More than half, way more than half. Like the lad in the movie, I would not call such relationship a real “friendship.”
Another movie Amy and I just finished was Into the Wild. We really enjoyed this one (though we could have done without a few scenes). Throughout the movie the main character ran from material possession and relationships, finally realizing nature alone was insufficient for real joy. He wrote, “Happiness is only real when shared.”
How true is that! I see so many people retreating from relationships, and they are miserable! Happiness doesn’t come in isolation but in community. Throughout the movie the main character (it is a true story so that make it even cooler, or sadder I guess) has so many experiences with random people, not to mention with Alaskan scenery, flora and fauna. I kept thinking, “How miserable it would be to not share these experiences with others?“
By the end, he comes to the same conclusion as the writer of Ecclesiastes: “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (4:10)
Biblical truth can and will be expressed through people made in the image of God. We shouldn’t be surprised to see or hear it expressed.