Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough

We just recently watched Spiderman 3 for the first time, on ClearPlay (which mutes foul language and skips gore and other objectionable material), and I wanted to share what it teaches about temptation and the choices that we make.

First of all, a little background. Geeky science student Peter Parker was bitten by a mutated spider and gained its proportional strength and abilities. The plot of the third installment of the hugely popular movie trilogy revolves around a black, gooey, shape-shifting, alien symbiote, that attaches itself to Peter, not only giving him a more imposing, new, black suit, but amplifying his negative emotions. As things around him crumble (job, relationships, etc...), he finds it easier and easier to give in to his dark side and do things that he would not otherwise do. He eventually realizes the mysterious suit has contributed to his self-destructive actions and gets rid of it.

In my opinion, this movie is way too busy, takes too long to set up the central plot, and does not spend enough time exploring Peter's struggles with the symbiote. And even before the symbiote takes him over, he does some pretty stupid stuff, that even he should know better not to do. True to the previous two big-screen adventures, the action and special effects are top-notch (if not ground-breaking) and nicely complement the issues that the movie addresses. Spiderman swinging through New York is nothing less than jaw-dropping.

In the end, Peter states (paraphrased), "We always have a choice, and we can always choose to do what's right." This is certainly a true statement, if we add that we can only possess the power to choose to do good if the Holy Spirit lives within us.

It's easy to do what's right, when things are going well. But when times are tough (financially, emotionally, physically, etc...), the Tempter comes knocking. The situation may sometimes seem so hopeless, that we can rationalize doing almost anything. This theme is evidenced not only in the life of Spiderman, but in that of the Sandman. Before being molecularly rearranged to the consistency of sand, he embarked on a criminal career, in order to make enough money to save his young daughter's life. You can argue that he did it not out of selfishness, but out of love for his daughter. But can sin ever be justified? Isn't there always another way?

We must remember that Jesus is always there, to carry us through. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). That way is prayer and power through the perfect love of the Holy Spirit.

12 comments:

the_thinking_frog said...

Greetings Greg,

The truth, we can choose to do what is right, is contrary to a society that emphasizes the importance of having my needs met. In the midst of the bailouts that are being approved in the United States, it would appear if key people would have chosen to do what was right, we would not face this predicament.

In a fallen world, greed and jealousy will continue to overcome the option to do right. Thanks for these thoughts.

Joyfully Serving,

Kermit

Nitewrit said...

Greg,

This is good. We need to do more of this, explore the popular media and point out what it has o say about our spirit and our need of Christ. You just can't escape God and his plan and ideas. I always seem to see a seeking in most of these works, even when they try to downplay God and Christ. We really need to give good exposition of what modern youth are drawn too.

Larry E.

Greg said...

Absolutely right, Kermit. Having the choice without the power is like choosing not to eat, when you're half-starved, and there's a footlong meatball sub right in front of you: impossible.

Greg said...

Thanks for the compliments, Larry! I make an effort to see everything through my spiritual glasses, so that I may filter out the falsehoods and garner a deeper appreciation of God, in everything around us.

Unfortunately, popular entertainment today has gone so far from the Lord, that it's hard to see much spiritual in it. We're very picky about what we watch, and ClearPlay and PluggedInOnline are tremendous helps (see links on the sidebar).

I'll keep a lookout for more, though. :)

Jeff said...

The plot of the third installment of the hugely popular movie trilogy revolves around a black, gooey, shape-shifting, alien symbiote, that attaches itself to Peter, giving not only a more imposing new, black suit, but amplifies his negative emotions. As things around him crumble (job, relationships, etc...) he finds it easier and easier to give in to his dark side and do things that he would not otherwise do. He eventually realizes the mysterious suit has contributed to his self-destructive actions and gets rid of it.

That could possibly be used as an illustration of our sin nature. The Bible tells us to "cast down" or "cast off" those sins which beset us.

You can argue that he did it not out of selfishness, but out of love for his daughter. But can sin ever be justified? Isn't there always another way?

Good point!

jeleasure said...

Society today has a need for self-esteem. I think I heard a statistic on American Family Radio that stated that inmates in prison have the lowest self-esteem issues per concentration of population.
They get what they want and the end justifies the means. In that case, I wish our country were not so opposed to being One Nation Under God. Our inmates need to suffer a little from a lack of self esteem until they find themselves in Christ.

New blog post up.
Jim

Tamela's Place said...

Hello Greg,

I truly wish more would choose to do what is right. It is sad but there is so much rebellion in America!


Tamela :)

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Nice post, Greg. I agree with your assessment of the movie and your encouraging words. Thanks for the "pick me up" this morning.

GGM

thekingpin68 said...

I think the movie is pretty good, but the giant Sandman at the end was lame.

The aspect of forgiveness though was good to see, and the Sandman's seeming willingness to be forgiven.

Russ

Andrew Clarke said...

This is a good point, Greg. The devil, like an opportunistic infection(something loathsome) will attack when we are weak. That is when we need to draw nigh to God. The Bible points out that when people give way to earthly human weakness, like Saul, they cost themselves God's blessings.

Vicki said...

Hi Greg,
Don't ever apologize for being too busy to blog. Even though we are a community, relationships face to face should not be neglected.
I truly enjoyed your Spiderman entry. I also liked your thoughts about the way people, especially when in a pickle, justify the means.
I also like the way you care for people. I sent a note and prayers to someone special whom you mentioned.
Blessings,
Vicki

Mikey said...

If only this idea could be grasped and accepted by all. I went through this decision today with my cousin. Ughhh, you hit the nail on the head my friend. Jesus is the answer....how can one see this? Allow him to take control, although the concept seems simple, it is so foreign for so many.

Thanks brother in Abba