The 1980’s hit movie, The Princess Bride has made a bit of a comeback. In this movie, ‘Westley’ (the Farm Boy) loves ‘Buttercup’ (the Princess), and he shows her by doing whatever she wants, and using the key phrase, “As You Wish”. Whatever Buttercup wants, Wesley does…and it’s a great story!
However, when a person–say, a toddler and his or her parents–try to apply that to life, things can get…messy.
You can just imagine the scene in the toy store, where a child demands a toy, and the parents try to say ‘wait’, or ‘not now’. If raised with this ‘As you wish’ mindset, what is that child likely to do–calmly and rationally walk away saying, ‘ I respect you, mom and dad, and I will submit my desires to you’? Of Course Not!
Rather, that child will throw a tantrum, scream, cry, run away, maybe even assault mom and dad until they capitulate and sames something like, ‘As you wish‘.
What we can (and unfortunately do) easily see within a child–especially someone else’s–we are blind to within ourselves.
We see this increasingly in our culture in adults. Increasing numbers of adults expect to be able to ‘get what they want, when they want it’, and don’t handle it well when they don’t.
Just look on Facebook. Watch the news.
Increasingly, we expect others–those who know and love us, and those who don’t–to say ‘As you wish‘, and not only that, We expect them to cheer us on!
Whatever path we choose, whatever behavior we embrace, we expect everyone to line up and cheer us on, and we get offended when they don’t!
Even if we’re making unwise choices, and they love us and want the best for us, increasingly we’d rather they just say, ‘As You Wish‘, or “Whatever Makes You Happy“. It seems as though we–adults–are increasingly acting like that toddler, asking others to say ‘Whatever you want’ and cheer us on!
But what if that ‘thing’, (or that person, or that job, or that money, or whatever…) is not what we should have? What if it would be harmful toward us in some way? Is it still my role–as your friend–to say ‘As long as you’re happy’ and cheer you on?
Of course not!
What if that habit you’re embracing is actually–empirically–bad for you?
What if that person you want is already married?
What if that job you want means putting your marriage and family in jeopardy?
What if that hobby/recreational sport you choose will negatively effect your relationship with God and His Church?
Increasingly, that doesn’t matter. The mindset is, ‘You should want whatever makes me happy, and this would make me happy’‘.
Even worse, I believe we increasingly treat our relationship with God the same way!
We say something like, “God, I want ____. Please give it to me.”
(Usually we don’t say it that bluntly, but sometimes we get pretty close. We end with ‘in Jesus’ name‘, so it sounds good.)
Yet, what happens when we don’t get it?
Very often, we act in some form like that toddler.
We get frustrated. We get sad. We get angry…and we throw a spiritual temper tantrum!
We begin to ‘question our faith’. Why?
Because God did not say ‘Whatever you want….As You Wish…Whatever makes you happy.’
This is no small problem.
Judeo/Christian society can’t continue if this mindset is allowed to grow within the Church. After all, one of the keys to faith is willing submission to His will. If I refuse that, and ask Him to willingly submit to My will, and if my church and other churches embrace the same mindset, then we’re in deep trouble.
Come to think of it, none of this should surprise us.
It was predicted, in Paul’s teachings…
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
This is the mindset of our culture, and increasingly, it’s finding it’s way into the Church because it’s being embraced by ‘Believers’.
What is the answer?
Repentance and Transformation!
“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:14-20)
*NOTE: He ‘knocks’ on the door of the Church, which has shut Him out!
As to the culture, we can only hope to influence it to the extent that we–Believers in, and Followers of Jesus–live this out.
And that starts with our own hearts, our own lives, our own faith.
We need to willingly, worshipfuly embrace Him and His will for us!
He’s ‘knocking’…will YOU let Him in?