This weekend I watched the movie, “The Giver,” with my family. I could not help but relate what is portrayed in this Utopian society to what happens in our individual lives.
The story takes place in a society run by a group of elders. In order to prevent wars, crimes of passion, or even struggle, everything has been sterilized and made the same. People wear the same white outfits, ride identical bicycles and live in identical houses to prevent jealousy. Children attend the same school, and at a predetermined age, the elders determine their future role in society based on their strengths. Elders arrange marriages to ensure a sound family unit to raise children. People work together for the good of society and food, housing, health care and jobs are provided for everyone. People are polite, there is no jealousy, no arguing, and no violence. All is peaceful.
But what looks like an ideal society – turns out to be not so ideal.
People do not realize avoiding any painful situations, has also confined them to a prison of nothingness. Drab monotone white uniforms replace the color and fashion that create individual style. Silence replaces music that stirs hearts and makes us feel deeply . Sensible games take the place of play just for the sake of play. No longer do kids enjoy the rush of red cheeks sledding down a snow covered hill. The range of climate and the power of thunder storms was replaced with 70 degrees and sunny every day to produce the best crops.
They abandoned the differences of race, religion and culture that weave together a society in all the colors of the rainbow abandoned for sameness. And the pounding of a heart that yearns to be fully known and loved by another was silenced for the practicalities of forming a family. Anything that made them feel emotion or passion was stilled and they didn’t even know what they lost.
But what happens in this society mirrors what happens in our individual lives. In order to avoid heartache, disappointment or pain, we construct walls to protect ourselves. With each brick we add, we live and feel a little less. We try to look like those around us, and dare not stand out in the crowd for fear of rejection. We play it safe during worship lest we feel out of control as the music moves us. Busyness causes us to miss out on the spontaneity of laughing or playing, or feeling the wind in our hair. We love, but only a little, lest it hurt too much when disappointed. Hiding protects us from the fear of rejection. We miss out because we are afraid and instead begin to feel nothing.
But God changes everything.
Because I know I am created by God uniquely me and dearly loved no matter what, I am able to open myself up. Secure in who I am, I know that I am broken and prefer to live known rather than hidden. God loves me anyway. I become less reactive to other people’s responses and instead give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe their reaction, comes out of their own brokenness, rather than something that I do wrong. I love freely and with abandon. Rather than shying away from pain or brokenness in others I enter into it and minister – He will provide what I need.
We laugh out loud
I worship with abandon
I weep for the broken
We swoosh down a snow laden hill
I jump in icy cold lakes
We get naked
Because God gave me the freedom to live
How has God changed your life?