Sin is a cancer and we are all sick.
The other day, my husband and I finally got around to watching Annihilation. For those who haven’t seen the film, it’s centered around this mysterious life-force called the Shimmer that appeared out of nowhere and is spreading. Fearful of what could happen when it overtakes towns and major cities, teams of various military personnel are sent in, but no one ever comes back out. Long story short, a team of women end up going in (each for their own reasons) and, well, things happen.
Later in the film, the main character has a discussion with the psychologist on her team. She states that she doesn’t understand why her husband, one of the military men who had previously entered the Shimmer, would volunteer for what is inevitably a “suicide mission”. The psychologist explains that there is a difference between committing suicide and self-destruction. She states “Almost none of us commit suicide, whereas almost all of us self-destruct. Somehow. In some part of our lives. We drink, or take drugs, or destabilize the happy job…or happy marriage“.
After a bit of dialogue, she says “self-destruction is coded into us“.
Self-destruction is coded into us.
When you think about it, we are all naturally prone to self-destruction. We don’t always choose to do what would benefit us in the long-term. In fact, we often trade-off the joys of the long-term for the short-lived pleasures of the short-term, inevitably destroying the possibility of those long-term joys ever coming to fruition.
The only humans to ever know what it was like to live without this sickness were Adam and Eve, and even they made the choice to self-destruct. The moment they bit that forbidden fruit, paradise fractured. Sickness swept over Creation like a tsunami, eroding mankind slowly and steadily.
And we are still stuck somewhere among the waves.
All around us, we see sick people. Sometimes, like with some illnesses, it’s obvious. But other times, like with other illnesses, it’s not. We are all dying slowly. We are all born slaves to vices, addictions, temptations, sins, and struggles. When we are born, we are born into a prison cell, incarcerated with a bail too high to pay.
At the end of the movie, we are left with many questions (and I will leave it there so as not to reveal spoilers).
But where Annihilation leaves us hopeless, Christ leaves us hopeful.
When Christ took his final breath, after enduring the wrath of God and taking on every sin ever committed (and the ones that would be committed afterwards), Matthew 27:50-51 tells us “the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, and the rocks were split“. See, a second fracture happened across Earth that day, but this time, it wasn’t in the hearts of men. No, this time, the fracture was in the chains that held us bonded to our sin and shame. Broken, these heavy chains dropped to our feet and the prison doors violently swung open. We were no longer slaves to our own self-destruction.
Finally, there was a glimmer of hope.
Self-destruction is still programmed within us. Many Christians who genuinely love Christ fall and stumble. All of us struggle in some way, shape, or form with something. We all get tempted and, even knowing the long-term joy that is in Christ, the short-term pleasure of our vices somehow still manages to grab our attention and pull our eyes away from Him.
Yes, sin is a cancer, but Jesus isn’t a treatment; He is the cure.
Even so, there is a place we can run when tempted. There is a place to run when we stumble and struggle and fall. When we feel our sickness within our bones, when we shiver with the fever of sin, there is a place to run to be welcomed and comforted; the Throne of Grace.
Lift your head weary sinner, the river’s just ahead
Down the path of forgiveness salvation’s waiting there
You built a mighty fortress 10,000 burdens high
Love is here to lift you up, here to lift you high
All who’ve strayed and walked away, unspeakable things you’ve done
Fix your eyes on the mountain, let the past be dead and gone
Come all saints and sinners, you can’t outrun God
Whatever you’ve done can’t overcome the power of the blood
If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide
Let the gates of glory open wide