Read Ephesians 5:1-2
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16 NLT)
A show that I have been into since it came out is Teen Wolf, which was produced by MTV. The show is six seasons long and now has a movie out as well. It follows Scott McCall, a teenage boy who accidentally got bit by a werewolf. Of course, anyone of us who have been alive since Henry Hull and Lon Chaney, Jr. have scared us on the silver screen, we all know that anyone who survives a bite by a werewolf becomes a werewolf themselves.
The show was loosely based on a two-movie franchise of the same name, but this series takes the mythology and the story much more seriously than the campy 80’s film franchise, which was also good in its own right. Like the movies, the show addresses the changes in Scott as well as the high school drama that he gets involved in or sucked into. When one thinks of it, werewolves make an excellent metaphor for pubertiy and the changes one goes through during that awkward time, including sprouting hear, growth spurts, etc.
In episode 6 of season 3, an episode entitled, “Motel California”, Scott and his Lacrosse team find themselves stuck in a motel as their game got postponed. During their stay, the werewolf teens (and at this point there are more than just Scott) become ill and suicidal. Why? Because it turns out that someone poisoned their coaches whistle, which he blew incessantly to get them to behave, with a poisonous plant known as Aconitum or just simply Aconite. In English, that translates to Wolfsbane.
Wolfsbane is a real, beautiful, and poisonous plant that has also been associated throughout the centuries as a plant that can deter werewolves, vampires and witches. This plant is native to the Northern Hemisphere and grows naturally in North America, Europe, and Asia. In humans, if ingested, this plant can cause diarreah, nausea, vomitting, convulsions, and death, depedning on the amount ingested. According to tradition, wolfsbane burns and weakens werewolves, but does not kill them.
In the show Teen Wolf however, it also can cause the werewolves to become self-destructive and suicidal. So, after enough of that goes around the werewolf teens are knocking on death’s door and Scott, in particular, is hit hard with it. His friends Stiles, Lydia and others, all of which are not werewolves, find that the intense light can reverse the effects. As such, Stiles comes up with a plan to light flares and put them in the faces of the affected werewolves in order to try and save their lives via the intense light.
Of course, the plan works. When Stiles and crew find Scott, however, they discover he’s poured gasoline all around himself and the school bus. Also, as it turns out, he his holding a flare over the gasoline. When he speaks his words are haunting and distant. He begins to tell them that perhaps him not being alive anymore will be best for everyone. He asks his best friend Stiles, if he remembers how everything was before he was a werewolf. He reminds him of how they were nobodies, not popular, not good at Lacrosse. They were no one and Scott is now wondering if maybe that it is better to be nothing…to be nobody.
It is at this moment in the scene, and yes this is a bit of a spoiler in this episode but not to the show overall, Stiles counters his friend and tells him he is not a nobody. That Scott puts himself in jeopardy all the time to save others and that the world is A MUCH BETTER PLACE with him in it. Then Stiles does something unexpected, he steps into the gasoline and says, but hey, if you are going to do it take me with you because we are brothers. Of course, that is not what Stiles wanted, but he selflessly took a gamble that Scott would not follow through if Stiles’ life was at risk.
That could have backfired; however, Stiles was willing to selflessly risk his life in order to save his friend. The episode is so powerful because it shows us what love is: it is self-sacrificial. Now, I have to pause here because, I do not want people thinking that self-sacrifical love means we need to needlessly suffer or sacrifice unnecessarily. God does not call us to suffer needlessly and God does not call us to “cast our pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6) either; however, there are times when we are called to put others before ourselves and there is no greater form of love when we do so (John 15:13).
Just like Stiles, we are called to LOVE people as God would love them. Stiles did what he did because he valued Scott’s life and could not sit by and allow him to hurt or destroy himself. Instead, he took a calculated risk to show Scott HOW MUCH he was loved. The story could have ended differently and not every story ends on a happy note as this one did; however, as Christians we are called to LOVE people as God loves them even if that means making ourselves vulnerable to show them that love. This is the Christian way, set forth by Jesus Christ our Lord.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE: If you or anyone you know maybe struggling with depression, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA & Territories) by texting or dialing 988.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Jesus’ own witness of sacrificial love and forgiveness, and his work to heal the sick and care for those in need, represent God’s ways and vision for us.” – Adam Hamilton
Lord, teach me your ways and your love. Grow your love in me so that I not only abide in it, but share it with others. Amen.