Always a Way Back to God

I’ve seen this video before, Lifehouse’s Everything Skit, and it always touches a cord in me, so I am sharing it with you (please click picture to watch):

Like all of us, the young woman has life breathed into her by God, created for intimacy with Him. And so starts out our own human existence, innocent and playful, intimate…but somewhere, we fall into various traps: the skit portrays the traps (temptations) of lust, avarice, alchoholism, vanity, depression, despair, which can lead to suicide. The skit was designed to pull at the emotions: the music is hauntingly beautiful, the words could be a love letter from us to our beloved. It is meant to make us question, “what is my ‘Everything’?” and “What are the traps that bind me, keeping me from the One who loves me as I am?”.

One viewer of the skit observed: “The skit itself bothers me as it portrays Jesus at one point as being powerless to intervene. Come on, this is the Second Person of the Trinity, God Himself, and he is powerless to stop what is happening?”

Watching the story unfold, it does seem as though Jesus is powerless, no? One moment He is dancing with his creation, and at some point lust pulls her away from this union; and with it, her created innocence. In real life, this happens, but in much more subtle ways. Most of the time full-blown sin enters the soul by seemingly innocent curiosity… wanting to fit in, or the surrounding culture says tells us a television show or activity isn’t harmful. And by this very curiosity the soul lets down its guard and opens a window that allows something else (fill in the blank) be entertained. In the Gospels when Jesus says ‘one cannot have two masters’ (Luke 16:13, Matthew 6:24), this wisdom is applicable to more than money and greed; whenever we make a choice to compromise just a little bit, we open the window just a little wider for something other than God to enter in, and in doing so, we let ourselves walk away from that union with our Creator that we were designed for. Each time we lower our standards, or tell ourselves, ‘just this time’, we create another barrier between us and that perfect union with God. The helplessness portrayed by Jesus, as the girl goes from one temptation to another is the result of the gift of our free will. He has made us free to choose, so in a way, we make Jesus powerless to help us when we choose a lifestyle contrary to His love.

The way back begins with a decision that we need God first and foremost in our lives, but it isn’t a magic trick that corrects itself automatically (although I do not rule out Divine intervention through special grace in some cases – I know this occurs). It requires our determination and will to return, or convert. Convert – the Latin convertere – means, “to turn around, transform”. What we see happening in the skit when the girl throws down the gun and starts trying to get back to Jesus, is this process of conversion taking place. It is a struggle of the will trying to overcome learned behavior – including how her mind and body have learned to respond to stimuli – takes a lot of her own effort. The skit shows her moving back and forth between different indulgences she’s experienced, as they ‘rear their ugly heads’ to again keep her from the One person who will shut them out for good. Just as it takes a soul a long time from that first instant she entertained a small step away from her union with God, so it takes a soul quite a bit of effort to put the acquired vices and sin behind her, and be free. She falls and fails, she gets up and tries again, until eventually, the hold of the old temptations on her life are less and less a threat to her goal – her renewed relationship with God. Seemingly, as in the skit, she has to go at it by herself, but true to scriptural teaching, she’s never alone.

There’s another important aspect conveyed in the skit. As she’s struggling, Jesus seems to be pulling her toward him by an imaginary rope. This pulling effect is the working of grace in our lives. Whenever we are struggling to overcome sin or vice, and call on God to help us, He comes to our aid. Our problems do not miraculously disappear, but there is a hidden resolve or strength that keeps us from giving up. This is grace at work. This is why people who are struggling to overcome addictions and vice need to ask for prayer, and to stay close to the Sacraments. The simplest definition of a Sacrament is ‘an outward sign of an inward grace’. Thus, when we partake in the Sacraments – especially Reconciliation/Confession, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion on a regular basis – we receive spiritual help and support to strengthen us in the daily battle to grow in holiness and continual conversion. Little by little we find the hold of our vices and addictions on our lives less and less, as we slowly reunite ourselves with the One we were created for.

9 thoughts on “Always a Way Back to God

  1. Good observations. I do think the skit errs in showing Christ as appearing to be powerless off on the side of the stage as the young girl goes through various vices to the point of suicide and then she turns and heads back to him at which point the ‘demons’ try to keep her from making it back to Christ. It is as though she could go as deep into sin as she wants and be led astray by the power of temptation and Christ can do nothing about it until she decides she needs help.
    First, in the book of Job it is clear that Satan is at work to destroy the lives of God’s people. However, it is also clear from that text that God sets definite boundaries that Satan cannot cross. Therefore Satan is clearly subordinate to God and can do no more damage or temptation than what God allows him. This is repeated elsewhere in Scripture. I think the skit errs on this point as she does appear to do her adventure into sin while Christ is on the sidelines seemingly unable to limit what she does or has done to her.
    Second, in John 10 Jesus talks about his people as his sheep and everyone else as not his sheep. He says; “25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (NIV) Notice that among other things Jesus says ‘No one can snatch them out of his hand’ and, “no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” I think that is crucial to my critique of the skit. Once in the hand of Christ you cannot be removed and you cannot remove yourself! Clearly in the skit she removes herself for a time to be isolated from Christ and he cannot stop her.
    Well, thank you for opening up the discussion and an opportunity to voice my opinion regarding what I see. Of course in the end this is simply a skit someone wrote to go along with the song. It is the work of a man and can’t get everything right.

  2. Excellent video, Sr. Lisa. Thank you so much for sharing. It is an accurate depiction of the struggle between good and evil in our lives. The skit shows that we can overcome any obstacle in our lives if we call on the name of Jesus, and never give up in our quest for Him. Peace be with you, today and always. Your friend in Christ, Paul.

  3. This skit is indeed powerful! In college, we had done a twist on it to act out for our 9th/10th grade confirmation retreats. The basic idea was there, but portrayed a bit differently. I loved your reflection on it, it definitely put a little more light on what it all stands for! Everytime I watch it, I feel it in my heart, the emotions and the love.

  4. We all want someone to rescue us – without exception. That’s but one reason why Knight in Shining armor stories appeal to us all – always have, always will – because we can identify with it so very well, even from our innocence. Some are the damsel in distress, while others are the knight – the roles are fungible, and sometimes reversed.

    Further, sometimes those in distress doesn’t desire rescue – it’s the “lead a horse to water” adage. At those times, the only thing one can do is to create desire. How? Put loads of salt in the horse’s feed. Then, it’d be practically impossible to keep the horse away from the water!

    In the video, none of those things in themselves – money, sexuality, beverage alcohol, knives, firearms, etc. – are wicked. It is the misuse of those gifts that cause problems. And yet, we are prone to be abusers, and to be abused.

    The skit, of course, is an imperfect analogy, for we live in an imperfect world. Some analogies, however, are better than others. My commentary is neither to find fault with its theology, nor the performance, but rather to understand.

    Some sins are more visible than others. Some sins inflict greater damage, leaving greater scars, and some we never escape. We all have our “favorite” sins – those to which we are most susceptible, to which we are most vulnerable, and sometimes from which we never escape. But who among us is without sin? We are all in need of a Savior – without exception.

    As it is written, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”

    “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

    “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

    Faith, hope and love are eternal. Though our bodies die, our spirits live on. So then, how shall we demonstrate His love so that others may experience it while we yet live upon this Earth?

    St. Teresa of Avila put it this way:

    Lord Christ,

    You have no body on earth but ours,
    No hands but ours,
    No feet but ours.

    Ours are the eyes through which your compassion
    Must look out on the world.

    Ours are the feet by which you may still
    Go about doing good.

    Ours are the hands with which
    You bless people now.

    Bless our minds and bodies,
    That we may be a blessing to others.


    • Thank you for sharing your insight! The words of Saint Paul come to mind: “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” (Romans 7:19) Indeed, it is a mystery why it is so, that we can at times go to extremes (turning activities into vices or overindulgence), and yes, we all have certain things that attract us, some of them more ‘deadly’ than others, on a spiritual level, versus the physical reality. Yet, God in His grace desires to embrace his children, and calls us constantly toward a conversion from sin and vice. Prayer is an important part of this. God bless!

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