Well guys, it’s happened twice this year. You ask, “What has happened?” Let me explain.
I started reading John Le Carre’s A Perfect Spy not long after our move in August. I was excited to start a nice spy thriller which could be a good escape from language study. Chapter after chapter, the feeling began to take shape. What feeling is that? The feeling that says, “I shouldn’t read any more of this book.” Unbeknownst to me, this particular book is very short on espionage and quite heavy on the inner workings of the main character, mainly centering around the depravity of his childhood in general, and his father in particular. In the wake of his life are men and women (mother figures and lovers) on whom he has spent his every energy trying to please, manipulate, use, or be used by. Perhaps if I had read to the end, I would have found some redemption in the life of this “perfect spy.” But, I knew long before the place that I stopped, that even a redemptive ending couldn’t redeem all of the garbage that I was intaking.
Similarly, we just started watching a sitcom that has premiered this season in the US. We are watching it on our computer. The first couple of episodes started off innocently enough…lots of laughs, quirky characters, etc. At that point, I could overlook the hints of irreligion and secular hedonism, but either those hints have fully developed into more advanced expressions of ungodliness or I’m growing more sensitive to those little hints because with each passing episode, I enjoy less and want more and more to not watch any more. I think I’m ready to stop watching, though perhaps I should have already. Even little things like High Schoolers scratching for popularity (a thing that is very real and in any sitcom involving young people and something that I’ve never had any sensitivity towards) has begun making my stomach turn.
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m happy about this, or proud of myself. To be honest, I’m a little sad about it. One part of me would love to have finished the book and wants to continue watching the show. A big part of me would like to not sense conviction about trivial things. I can say that while I have chosen to not finish the book and will not continue to watch the show, I want to, or maybe it’s more accurate to say, “I want to not NOT want to!” It’s a sinking feeling of Christian conviction. Someday, I will most likely appreciate God’s work in this way. I’ll realize that He’s saving me from things that I personally (and maybe only me) am susceptible to or affected by.
And more than wanting to not Not watch and read, I want to obey. There is joy and freedom there. I don’t always appreciate it. It’s kind of like some friends from college who wanted to do certain things that I (and probably they) thought was not good to do, but they argued from Christian freedom and argued against being “too holy” which often translates into “weird” or holier than thou. Looking at my own heart and looking back at their weak (at best) arguments, what we really are saying is that we want to persist in our sin without conviction and yet also experience the benefits of salvation, forgetting that being cleansed from the ugliness of that very sin is one of the greatest benefits of that salvation to which we cling.
Thanks for praying for me guys.