Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Christianity in... "The Lorax"

My friend Will gave me a most excellent idea recently.  He said that for Dedicated Christians we should do a series of posts explaining the truth and Christian principles in various movies.  Hopefully we can get him to do a couple, but for today you have me.  I do want you all to know that not all the authors agree or would watch the movies reviewed.  The opinion belongs to the individual author and not to Dedicated Christians as a whole.

I recently watched "The Lorax," and after viewing was struck with the incredibly hard challenge to find truth in, as a friend put it, "the vast amounts of propaganda and worldly thought."

I just knew there was truth in the movie, and here is what I discovered.

The Lorax is the story of a young man who leaves his home to make a fortune by selling a sweater/hat-like piece of clothing that was made from trees.  The propaganda in the movie is pushed to an extreme as the whole movie is focused on "saving the earth" and "tree huggers."  There were two parts in the movie that later struck me as truth we can take from this movie.

The first is truth itself.  After cutting down the first tree the Lorax, a magical critter, tells him he needs to stop and shows him what could happen.  Onesler, the main character, promises the Lorax that he will not cut down anymore trees, and instead starts to get the tops of trees by picking the leaves, something that is "good for the environment."  After his family gets there to help with his business they start to pressure Onesler until he caves in.  He decides it is okay to cut down a few trees, just not all of them.  This slowly changes until every tree is gone.

The truth of this is showing the consequences of a broken promise, which is lying.  A little compromise of a promise moved into something bigger and bigger until it created a catastrophe.  It is the same with us as Christians.  We need to realize that lying is a sin.  We see throughout the Scripture that we "should not bear false witness," and in the Revelation we see "All liars will have their part in the lake of fire."  A little lie might not seem like much, but it escalates in what it can lead to and how God sees it.  It escalates how, like in the movie, a little lie moved to a bigger lie.  But how does God see something as small as a lie?

The Evangelist Tony Miano put it this way (paraphrased).  Imagine you lie to your baby brother.  Chances are nothing will happen to you.  Now, if you lie to your Mom, you will most likely be punished.  But if you lie to the President, you can be sentenced to jail or death.  The crime did not change, but what changed was who the crime was against.  It is the same way with God, just a little lie to Him is a great offense, and worthy of being thrown into the lake of fire.  For this reason we can learn from The Lorax the consequences of a lie or broken promise.

The second lesson we can learn from The Lorax is the lesson of Stewardship.  The young man had in his power the fate of whether or not the trees would be cut down, and indirectly through that the fate of the animals living inside those forests, and the entire ecosystem surrounding it.  If you have ever heard Doug Phillips preach, you have probably heard what he calls the "Dominion Mandate."  This concept comes from Genesis 1:26-28, which says:

"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”"

This is God telling man to take dominion over the earth and subdue it for His ultimate glory.  Now the Onesler did it so much he almost destroyed it.  He was like a man who plants apple trees in a garden, and in harvest comes and pulls up all the trees from the roots in order to harvest the apples.  He destroyed the whole ecosystem of the garden.

I am not personally a "tree hugger," but I do realize the importance of caring for the world God has given us.  In the example above the man was a fool to not care and nurture the trees in order to get a more bountiful crop, but instead focused on the immediate profit He would receive, which is not right.  So the second message I believe we can learn from The Lorax is that we need to take care of our world rightly, but also see that going overboard in either direction results in chaos.

So those are the two truths I found in The Lorax.  Hopefully if you ever have the misfortune to watch this movie you will see these two principles and apply them to your own life.



Ezra Walls said...

Neat idea, and a very interesting review.

Ha, a misfortune it was, eh? :)

Helieum said...

Isn't God going to destroy the world anyway?

Matthew said...

In the end He will, but in the meantime He calls us to take care of the gifts He has given us.

Imagine someone gives you a car for your birthday, but you don't change the oil or service it since one day it will break down. No one would ever do that! It's the same with God and our world. Though one day this earth will break down, in the meantime we are called to care for it.

Hope that answers your question :)