Let me say again that I really do love this movie for so many reasons, so I'm not merely passing too strong a judgment on a mere 2:10 minute trailer. However, there is far too rich a collection of truths here to let dissipate into the mist of forgotten entertainment.
In Part I I discussed the nature of emotions. Their real purpose and practice is very different than with what our modern culture has indoctrinated us.
My desire for Part 2 is to systematically explain how the following scene all too accurately depicts the modern American family (Christians included) and how much more deadly the reality is.
Meet The Players
We’re introduced to a painfully typical three-member family. I don’t look down on families with only one child. To be honest, I’m more surprised the parents are still together and this scene didn’t occur with a single mom and daughter. However, since having children has become a cultural accident (one worthy of eradication) it’s not shocking to see families produce as few accidents –- excuse me -– offspring as they can.
So, we have Mother, Daughter, and Father. But there’s another set of cast members hiding in the wings or, better yet, at the helm. Sadness, Disgust, Joy, Anger, and Fear are not only along for the ride, but are the ones choosing how the family communicates and relates.
If you haven’t already seen it, please watch the short trailer below:
Meet The Stereotypes
I don’t want to sound like a pretentious snob when I say that watching this didn’t make me laugh one bit. You have to realize that I’ve been working with hurting families for over ten years now. Though the foibles of this animated family are meant to make us laugh, the reality is that many scarier and sadder behaviors grow out of so “tiny” a seed.
Looking at it from a strictly literary eye, the premise of the entire trailer rested firmly on seething heap of cultural stereotypes. For example:
Meet The Destruction
Take away the fuzzy Emotions and slap some real skin of these people and the picture isn’t quite so enjoyable. In fact, likely this is an all too familiar scene in our homes.
So, what’s the harm of a little family dysfunction? We all have it. Right?
Have you ever witnessed a tragedy? I mean, a life-altering tragedy? Have you ever asked yourself, “How did that happen?” As a counselor, I not only get to witness my own fair share of destruction within my sphere of friends and acquaintances, but I also get box tickets to the reality-bending choices of my counselees. There are few family-destroying scenarios I haven’t witnessed.
And every time I sit down to analyze the cause of the explosion, I always find the same matches.
Every single one of the negative behaviors and stereotypes listed above are the result of desiring my way over anyone else’s: Dad’s not mentally present because he has something better to do. Daughter doesn’t want to be bothered because she thinks she doesn’t need her parents input in her life. Mother gets to fantasize about a lost love because her desires are more important than the stability of her marriage.
Self-worship is the sole cause of hurt relationships!
If I find more pleasure in fulfilling my own desires, then the desires of others will inevitably be trampled on my way to perceived satisfaction. This explains all of the . . .
Hurtful Words & Behaviors
What happens when a seaside town gets in the way of a tsunami –- pretty much the same thing that happens when a person gets in the way of a self-worshipper’s desires.
We bite and scratch and scream and hit.
Of course, it all starts polite enough –- silent treatment, passive aggressive comments, physical positioning, withholding shows of affection. But before long those quiet tactics no longer give us what we want. Why? Because if the other person in the relationship is living for themselves, our silent treatment will likely get in the way of their dreams . . . and they won’t like that any more than we do.
Whether it’s a second grade classroom, a high school locker room, a board meeting, or a bedroom, conflict arises due to unfulfilled desires (James 4). We want something. We don’t get it. We lash out. And the conflict will escalate the more I don’t get what I want.
In the end, all we’re left with is . . .
Did you notice that all three of our human players above were eventually controlled by Anger?
The Dad had Anger sitting at the helm.
The Daughter’s Anger wouldn’t even listen to her Fear of reprisal.
Even Mom succumbed. Which of her emotions played the Brazilian helicopter fantasy? Anger.
What started as a simple family meal became a hot-house of Anger. Why?
Because that’s what happens when self-worshippers don’t get what they want. When no one seems to realize that I "deserve" my way, and I’ve run out of “respectable” forms of aggression, there’s no other recourse than to shame or scare someone into submission.
My reasoning for why you need to cater to me will never convince you to abandon your reasoning for why I need to cater to you! All we’re left with is slandering, accusing, yelling, crying, threatening, name-calling, throwing, hitting . . . killing. Almost every time behaviors like this occur in an otherwise normal family, you can be certain that at least one person has lost control of their emotions.
And that’s what you’d expect in a world where everyone’s emotions are Inside Out.
When I engage a family with the Word of God, all of His Truth is pointed at worship. Dad, Mom, Brother, and Sister all need to seek His kingdom first. Secondly, they need to love each other by working toward the best interest of the other.
This worldview accomplished three things in me:
But no one in this scenario is a doormat. Dad mustn’t allow his daughter to be disrespectful, not because it offends him, but because it offends God. He’ll use God’s Truth with God’s love to address the problem. When we worship God, we passionately work for His ends in His power for His reasons. That leaves no room for selfishness and pride.
Now that’s the kind of people I’d like to have dinner with.
How about you?
Feel free to leave your comments below.
AMBrewster is the Executive Director of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.
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