Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Bad Can I Be?

"How ba-a-a-ad can I be?
I'm just doing what comes naturally.
How ba-a-a-ad can I be?
I'm just following my destiny."

Last night I visited the Dollar Cinema with my oldest son, Micah. Due to our frugality, we see children's movies about 2 months after the rest of the country. Last night we saw The Lorax. The original book about the Once-ler and the Lorax is an encouraging one. It teaches the value of taking care of the earth and it reminds us that greed is bad and that our actions have consequences on others.

Nevertheless, I've seen Hollywood destroy more than a few children's tales, so I approached this brightly-colored film with the same trepidation that exists any time I expose my kids to any media.

In a world where "sinful" has become a playful description and can be found to describe food, makeup, perfume, and underwear (are there any men's items that are marketed as sinful?) I was surprised to see, at least in theory, a song that went to the very core of human nature and our fall into the arms of sin.

The Once-ler, who has broken a promise to the Lorax and has begun cutting down more truffula trees, tries to reason that he's not really that bad of a guy because he is just doing what comes naturally. (Listen to the whole song, here.)

Isaiah 64:6 says, "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep away like the wind."

Left to our own devices, left to follow our own natural inclinations, we will do just what the Once-ler did. We'll give in to greed, selfishness, broken promises, and sin.

Sin is an ugly word. But the Church shouldn't treat it like a dirty word. It's ok to say it. It's ok to talk about it. And, if we follow Luke 17:3, there are even times when we're encouraged to talk with another Christian about their own sin. "So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them. And if they repent, forgive them."

I'm weary of my kids growing up in the current culture where it's popular belief that whatever you're inclination is must be the right thing for you. If you listen to what's happening in America you'll hear about "my truth" and "your truth." I am not ashamed of the Gospel and I cannot be afraid to say that I believe there is only one truth and it's HIS. And despite Lady Gaga singing about "capital H-I-M," her theory that we're perfect because we're born this way is not one I want my kids to subscribe to.

And just like the Once-ler, who really was doing a bad thing, finds salvation when the Lorax descends from the skies in a glittery shaft of light, we too, who are consumed with our own bad things, have a way out.

1 Corinthians 15:57. "But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord, Jesus Christ."

I loved that the Once-ler's song was such a good jumping off point for a meaningful conversation on the way home with Micah. I hope to teach him that everyone sins and that acknowledging our own sin is not the equivalent of self-hate. But that, instead, it's actually what a loving God calls us to do. We can't appreciate the perfection of our God without first acknowledging our own imperfections.

You can appreciate the Once-lers song for yourself. It's still in theaters... well, one theater, at least.

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