downton abbey. perhaps a fictional estate, but true enough. a family of five. but to take care of the five people, and the large estate, up to 70 servants are required. imagine. 70 people, just to take care of one family. we watch movies like downton abbey, and sneer at lady mary and the rest. we call them selfish prigs. we make comments such as, "how can they live with themselves? how can they let 70 people pamper and take care of them." we try to search out reasons to their selfish style of living. "well...they do perform charitable acts sometimes. and besides, that's the way they've been raised. they don't know any better." and that's true. that's how life has always been.
but what are our ancestors going to say 100 years from now? watching the movies (or whatever form of entertainment is available then) about us. they'll look at our lavish lifestyles, and perhaps ask the same questions. how can WE live with ourselves? we have so much. we buy so much. we waste so much. and yet we are never satisfied. there are people around us, much closer than we think or know, who haven't a fraction of what we do. sure, we perform charitable acts, sometimes. but does that make us any less selfish? how can we turn up our noses at our ancestors when we live the way we do? that's how we've been raised. that's all we know. can you not see some resemblance?
and we see, in the movies and books, someone who has more than others. he/she begins as a selfish and horrible person. but then he/she is temporarily exposed to the poor, the needy, the hungry. he/she discovers something that they never really worried about. sure, they knew it existed. sure, they thought of it occasionally and spent a few weeks rallying the cause. but to actually see it face-to-face. it was a life changing experience.
we see these scenes in the movies. we "hurrah!" the hero as they finally discover the true meaning of life. as their change brings about good. but we don't see the fault in our own life. we don't see the parallels when looking from 100 years in the past to now. for we live in our own gilded cage, ignorant to the others around us. to the poverty. we look the other way. shift uncomfortably in our seats. and only think of the inconvenience it would cause us to help them.
so the next time we watch a movie. before pointing out and insulting the characters for being selfish prigs, let's examine our own heart and our own life. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7:3-5
what do you think?