So it turned out pretty much as expected. A massive opening night with millions of Twittering Twi-Hards clutching their preordered tickets and finally embracing the über-anticipated sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
To sum the movie up - one girl…two guys…hot werewolf (literally, body temperature at 108 degrees)…cold vampire …and, like, danger-lust-romance-mystery…OMG!!!
Picture the rival gangs in Grease, only with superpowers, much better stylists and costume designers.
In my mind, the siren call of this movie to the tweens and teens of this generation could be summed up in one word -
Wouldn't you agree? Behind all the fangs and fur is a syrupy sweet repetition of "I love you, but I'm a vampire, and I can't protect you," and "I love you, but I'm a werewolf, and I can't protect you."
Don't misread me here, I'm not a Twilight hater. The idea of the movie is interesting and the effects are cool, but what is not cool is the picture of love being portrayed here. The normal moviegoer might conclude that relationships as consistently, codependently fiery and passionate as Edward's and Bella's are normal and should be desired in life. As one writer put it:
"Twilight and New Moon are essentially uncritical celebrations of that overwrought, obsessive passion that is the hallmark of immaturity - passion that wholly subordinates all sense of one's own identity and elevates the beloved to summum bonum (highest good), or even the sole good…"
But that kind of love relationship isn't healthy, nor does it portray what real love is really like. In other words, enjoy the movie, but don't buy the love lie. Romance is awesome and an amazing part of life, but trust me, it can only come from a proper understanding of love.
Which then begs the question… what is love? Well, before you answer with "baby don't hurt me!", perhaps we should consult the Person who invented love in the first place?
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends (John 15:12-13).
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Are you seeing the glaring difference here? Twilight tells us to look at love as an emotionally driven rollercoaster ride that is greatly impacted by circumstances, appearances, and expectations being met. It's a flame that builds when the winds of passion are present, but it can grow cold with a mere unkind word or unfaithful action.
Yep, that's pretty much our culture…but there is a better way. There's a love that stays as constant and burning as the North Star, because the fire is fueled from the inside out. It's a love that says, "I'm committed to you no matter what. If the emotions are there, great, but if not, you are still the object of my dedication."
This is the kind of love that "never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
This is also the love that drives people to "lay down their life for their friends."
And did you know that you are already the object of that kind of love?
Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:7-8).
God loved you before you were born. He loved you when you were unlovable. He still loves you when you doubt and disbelieve.
He loves you so much that He gave His only Son to die rather than live in eternity without you!
That's the kind of love that lasts, and when a relationship is built on that kind of foundation, there is passion and romance that no book or film will ever come close to portraying. And when we are consumed with the love of God for us, earthly love will fall into its correct place on our list of priorities and desires.
And speaking of "laying down your life for your friends"… have you lately? Do their needs come before yours? And most importantly, have you put your coolness on the line by sharing the good news of the love of Jesus with them? That's real love - a love that this cold world desperately needs.
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Pray and look for opportunities this week to love your friends by "laying down your life" for them. It may be looking out for their good before your own, even when it's hard, and it especially may be a chance to boldly tell them about the Friend they have who already gave His life for them!
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew 22:37-39).
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27).
"I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" (John 17:23).