Saturday, October 27, 2012

Our Own Little Shop of Horrors

I didn’t like the movie “Little Shop of Horrors” when I grew up. I watched it once, but never again. It just seemed cheesy and weird to me. If you’re not familiar with the movie, it’s about a rather ordinary shop owner whose business is going downhill when he comes upon a rather unusual plant. The plant soon reveals to him that it needs human blood to survive, so he feeds it his own blood to help it grow, since the plant has been drawing attention to the shop and making the shop owner notable to both the community and to the girl that he desires. As the plant grows, it needs more human food. It ends up having to eat humans and the shop-owner obliges by feeding it humans. Eventually, the plant reveals that it is no friend at all, demands that it be fed his beloved girlfriend and tries to eat him as well. All goes well, however, when he and his girl overcome the plant and live happily ever after.

I thought the movie was obnoxious, but I probably thought that most of all because this wasn’t the original ending of the movie. The entire point of the movie was brought out by the original ending, but American audiences didn’t like the original ending, so it was changed to suit their need for the happily ever after ending. In doing so, the entire point of the movie (and play that preceded it) was lost.

However, the original ending was much more sobering, much darker, because the original ending depicted reality.  In the original, the shop-owner’s beloved is killed and eaten by the plant, the shop is destroyed, and the shop-owner pulled from the rubble and eaten by the plant as well. It then reproduces itself in every household and soon thousands of giant plants, presumably that have been fed in like manner by their owners, soon take over the world, destroying it completely. The end song, “Don’t Feed the Plants” was meant to bring out the idea that when you feed sin/self-assertion/desire, you are really feeding it yourself, growing it in size to eventually be in a position to completely devour you.

Now, the original movie meant to convey a truth. If you live in indulging your sin, you’re not going to escape it in the end. It will, in fact, completely consume you and destroy everything. You won’t be able to overcome it after feeding it so long. There won’t be the possibility of escape after a lifetime of indulgence. The deal a man has made with the devil has been reaffirmed over and over again, so much that these acts of indulgence throughout one’s life have sealed his fate in the end. By what he enslaved himself,  he is ultimately overcome and cannot think or desire otherwise. He has been sifted like wheat. 

But what I thought was interesting was the fact that the modern American religious sentiment wants to believe the opposite of an obvious reality. It wants to believe that one can ignore God one’s whole life in terms of repenting from sin and falsehood and still be OK in the end. Somehow, we’ll all still be heroes in the end, even though we’ve lived as villains our whole lives.  This is likely why more people today believe in a temporary hell, if they believe in hell at all, rather than an eternal one. We want to believe that there are no enduring consequences to our actions, that we can train our bodies to crave junk food our whole lives and then turn around and look like supermodels. We want to believe that we can quit smoking, stop taking drugs, cease getting drunk, refrain from lusting after others who are not our spouses, repent from neglecting our families, etc. at any time; and so, we can just turn everything around in the end. But the truth is that we’ve indulged ourselves one too many times, smoked one too many cigarettes, took one too many hits, have drunk one too many drinks, and have indulged in sexual immorality one too many times to ever be capable of turning it around in the end. The fool who is self deceived believes otherwise, because he wants to imagine that what he does has no bearing on who he is and what he will be in the future; but the truth is that one is defined by what he does and his future is bound to his identity.

It reminds me of the often used illustration, a likely made up tale, of the wolf that continues to lick a bloodied knife, but soon loses his own blood as he continues to lick the tasty knife--now all too numb to feel the cuts on his own tongue. He devours himself to death. One too many licks and he just can't stop. He just can't turn away. It just tastes too good in the moment, but such pleasure at the disregard of one's own life takes its toll in the end. Despite what most Americans want to believe, he won't walk away from it.

This doesn’t mean that God cannot change a man through Christ. Of course, He can and does. We are told to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. We are told that the Son can make us free. The point I’m making is that once God calls you to repentance and you ignore that, mocking God as though you will not reap what you sow, your time for seeking God while He can be found is quickly coming to a close. Your opportunity to be sprung from prison is slipping away. The door is closing. The Bible is very clear that God doesn’t just sit around waiting for those who ignore Him to repent. He calls them to repentance, and if they indulge in their sin anyway, He gives them over to their slavery all the more, so that they are consumed by their own self-worship and sin. He muddies the waters, so that they can no longer see the path of salvation clearly. He gives opportunity to kill or at least reduce the plant in size for a season, but only for a season. There is a point of no return. There is a point when the plant just kills your loved ones and eats you whole. It’s a terrifying reality, but a reality nonetheless. It’s just a shame that most Americans want to believe a fantasy more accommodating to self-indulgence and self-directed desire. Belief in the original ending, and ending that depicts the reality of our ends if we persist in sin after being rebuked, might have freed them. Perhaps, instead of saying, "Just one more time," they might say, "Never again."

Instead of lending one more drop of blood to the life of the monster that consumes they just might have let Christ pull out the root. But Americans just don't want to deal with reality. Maybe that's why they like to go to the movies so much? You can always fabricate reality and change the ending. Too bad real life just doesn't work that way.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
(Heb 3:7–15)

For He says,At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation.
(2 Cor 6:2)
 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:7–10)

No comments:

Post a Comment