Last time I posted my list of emotional responses to the instances of Degradation and Debasement that I saw in the movie “The Hangover”. So… what’s the point? There are several.
What can be gained from this exercise?
First of all, I like sin—and I suspect that you do, too. I hope you noticed that my list was a little vulnerable in that I acknowledged feeling joy, excitement and arousal in response to the depiction of certain kinds of degradation. I wanted to be fully honest about my emotional responses because I believe that we will never overcome sin if we are in denial about the state of our hearts. It is essential that I fully grasp that there is a part of me that very much wants to revel in sin.
Second, I believe that our ability to go on sinning comes partly from our refusal to connect emotionally with the sin. This is true in two ways: One, we refuse to connect emotionally with the fact that we like the sin (as I stated above). As a result, our draw towards the sin remains mysterious and untouchable to us. We can’t control it because it feels like something that is happening to us rather than something we are choosing. On the other hand, if I acknowledge that illicit sex seems exciting to me, I’m humbled (especially to share that with all of you) and become more able to choose against that desire.
Two, we refuse to connect emotionally with the damage of the sin. If you connect emotionally with the damage that is caused by sin, you will be far less likely to do it. For example, you can only enjoy pornography to the extent that you disconnect from the fact that the person you are objectifying is very likely a self-re-abusing victim of sexual abuse who believes that she has nothing to offer the world other than her sexuality. If you connect emotionally with her pain, your arousal will diminish.
Therefore it becomes extremely important that we cultivate a lifelong practice of (1) understanding what is sad about every instance of sin sin and (2) remaining emotionally connected to that sadness.
Now, I’m sure there are people who would read this series of posts and say, “Dude, you need to lighten up! It’s just a movie! It’s just funny! You don’t have to analyze everything and talk about your “feelings” all the time!” Such people may have a point: “The Hangover” would be a lot funnier to me if I disconnected my heart from the things that are happening in it. On the other hand, I’d rather have a heart that is alive and engaged with life than laugh at a few more jokes.
But is it still an ok movie?
I hope my tone isn’t negative, because that’s not my heart at all: In fact, my overall point is something very postive: That the Dignity that God has graced us with as bearers of his image is so great that it should be cherished and honored, and it is right for us to feel sadness and anger any time that Image is debased or degraded.
But as for the movie itself: Is there glory in it? I’m sure that there is. Let’s take a look at that in the next post.