Redirecting Pleasantville

In the Hollywood film Pleasantville, all the residents of the town are living life in black and white until one day someone discovers the forbidden idea of free choice. Upon making that choice, the main character turns into a vibrant, colorful person while everyone else remains black and white. From there, other citizens of Pleasantville discover free choice, and they too exchange their black-and-white existence for dynamic color.

One message we might take away from this film is that it’s those who choose freely the life of sin and fleshly fulfillment who are living life in color, while all others are doomed to a grayscale existence. This is precisely the view of sin that the enemy would love for us to buy into. Ever found yourself asking, “Why is the world getting away with murder, while I as a Christian am supposed to live uprightly?” In other words, why does the world get to experience the Technicolor dream life while I’m stuck with this black-and-white existence?

The truth is, that’s backward. We might picture sin dangling in front of our eyes as the most fulfilling thing out there and think it’s our obligation to resist it simply because God says not to partake. But that’s a distorted view of the spiritual reality. The reality is that we are now partakers of God’s divine nature. We’re the ones who can experience life in vibrant, heavenly color.

An unbeliever can only choose one thing—sin. It may be good-looking sin, philanthropic sin, or kind and compassionate sin. But if it’s not an expression of the life of Christ, then it’s still sin. It’s a black-and-white expression of death rather than the life of Christ in dynamic color.

We Christians can also choose sin. But we’ll find, over and over, that it never fulfills. We’re simply not made for it anymore. We’ve been redesigned from the ground up as a people in God’s living color so that we can display and transmit his life in this world.

Life for us is like the film Pleasantville but rewritten, redirected. God has the market cornered on fulfillment. As his children, we’re the only ones who can live the Technicolor dream. Interestingly, not only do we look different, apparently we even smell different:

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Cor. 2:15)


(from the bestselling book, “God Without Religion”)

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