Romantic Comedies. Stop! You had me at hello!
Lately, my wife and I have been binging on romantic comedies. We love the simple, timeless formula from Hollywood: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl.
Every now and then, Hollywood switches it around. Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Girl gets boy.
Somehow for these stories to work, we need to hold these three things to be true:
1. Love is unconditional
The boy needs to love the girl just for who she is. Flaws and all. He is not allowed to love her simply because she's good-looking. In fact, it's only love because she is so annoying, and yet he still loves her.
2. Relationships are only possible if there's repentance
But here's the paradox of love. Even though love is unconditional, relationships can be severed.
And, as predictably as milk goes off in a bachelor's fridge, at some stage, the boy will wrong the girl. He will let her down. He will disrespect her. This will create an unbridgeable chasm between him and the girl
If there is to be a relationship, the boy must recognise that he has wronged the girl. Until he acknowledges his wrong, reconciliation is impossible. There can't be forgiveness without repentance. There can't be happy ever after.
3. It's about the romance stupid
Why do we cheer when the boy finally gets the girl? Because it's romantic.
In the end, it's not about the sex. It's not about the end of loneliness. It's not about being married, with 2.5 kids, a house, and an SUV.
It's about the romance.
In fact, often in romantic comedies, when the boy meets the right girl, it stops being about the sex.
This is what separates us from the animals. According to anthropologist and TED speaker, Helen Fisher, humans are unique among the animals in that we seek not just sex from our partners, but also romance.
Importantly, we need all three truths. Love must be unconditional. But it can only be enjoyed if there's repentance. And the whole point is romantic love, and not utilitarian love.
Notice anything about the above formula?
It's the same storyline in the Bible. God loves us unconditionally. But we can only experience his love if we appropriate it through repentance. And in the end, God doesn't just want a Creator-creature relationship with us, he wants a romantic relationship with us. Not a merely utilitarian relationship where Jesus gives us a free ticket to Heaven.
And we need all three truths for life to work. God's unconditional love. Our repentance. Romance.
So, the next time God tries to talk to us, tell him to Stop. You had us at hello.