Friday, August 20, 2010

A strange lesson from Scott Pilgrim

Okay, I will blow some spoilers for the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (which is visually and nerd-culturely teh awesome).

Basically, you have a weak character, who becomes stronger when he realizes he is in love and becomes stronger, but then gains self-respect and becomes a fuller, better person. It's journey of self-respect masquerading as a love story.

It gets the order of the two mixed up. Love does not come before self-respect. Love is not mere desire, it is not mere wanting someone, or wanting to be with someone, or having someone make you feel good. Love is service, love is giving yourself to another in order to serve them. And in order to do that, you must have a respect of self, a value of self. You should know who it is that you are giving - that way you can give yourself well. And the movie even almost touches upon that - Scott shows more love after his revelation of self-respect, but it doesn't articulate it.

Now, I know there was shock and horror that I would even talk about the importance of self-respect.

Christian - you are to respect and value yourself. Not because of your own worth and merit, but because Christ Jesus Himself has placed the highest value upon you - His own precious blood. And this is what the world will never get.

The world loves to talk about self-respect, self-esteem. You have to find something about yourself to like. This is why in college I would utterly freak out and confuse my friends when I would freely admit my flaws and weaknesses, where I said too many people esteem themselves too highly (for they esteemed themselves for frivolous and fleeting things. . . like I'm smart, I'm pretty -- things that can pass away and fail).

And the reason this freaked them out was that without a positive sense of self-respect, one won't be able to act. This is true - the world properly understand that.

What it fails to understand is that without the love of Christ and His redemption, anything which I would build up my self-esteem upon is fundamentally flawed and weak and will crumble. I'm nice? Well, I can be mean. I'm smart - well, I can be clueless, and often was in the matters that were most important to me. I'm caring - well, there's a reason - I've been trained by Christ to do this; that's not fundamentally from me.

I don't need to respect my own value -- I need to be honest and see my own flaws, the ways in which I utterly abuse the wondrous strengths and powers that God created me with (as He created you with), and then I need to know the utter love and value that God has placed upon me, the love that would make Christ say, "Even though I am God and lack nothing, I will lay down My life for you."

And you know what? Now, I can grow, slowly but surely, more and more like Christ. I learn to say, "Even though I am a Christian and lack nothing, for Christ is my Lord and has given me all that I need, I will lay down my life in service for you."

If only the folks who had made Scott Pilgrim had read Luther's Freedom of a Christian - they would get this point.

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