Yes Man theology

Last week, we rented and watched Yes Man, a Jim Carrey movie from 2008. The storyline, in case you are unfamiliar, revolves around Carl (Jim Carrey), a man who has become lonely and closed-off after his divorce. His friends try to bring him out of his shell, but he rebuffs their attempts until he misses his best friend’s engagement party. The resulting confrontation causes Carl to attend the Yes Man self-help program. His experiences there and shortly thereafter convince him to say yes to every opportunity, every question and every offer he receives.

The movie is mostly about his adventures and misadventures following the covenant he makes to say yes. Some are a little scary, some are crude, but mostly they are funny, which of course is the point of the movie. There’s more to the story, but this is where the theology comes in.

Wouldn’t it be nice if being a Christian was as simple as saying yes to every opportunity we have?

People, including me, think that it’s so hard to be a Christian. It’s hard to know what God wants us to do. It’s hard to do what we know God wants us to do. There are so many choices we encounter in daily life that aren’t addressed in the Bible, and the Bible is really all we have as far as God’s instructions go. So we spend a lot of time hemming and hawing, and before we know it, another day is gone. And we still have nothing to show for it. Nothing learned, nothing done…nothing.

The thing is, the Bible really does tell us what God wants us to do:

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (emphasis mine)

Is there a situation that verse doesn’t cover? I can’t think of one. If you aren’t sure about how to live that, how about trying this:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12 (again, my emphasis)

Obviously there’s a lot more to the Bible, and to Christianity, but my point is this: the problem we have as Christians isn’t knowing what to do; it’s doing it. It’s walking the walk.

In Yes Man, Carl does it. He believes that saying yes to everything is the best way to live, so he does it.

What if we all challenged ourselves to take our faith that seriously? What if we all took a good, long look at our lives, and committed ourselves to justice, mercy and humility? What if we really treated people as we want them to treat us? What if we decided to choose love…and actually lived that choice?

That’s a hard commitment to live up to. But what choice do we have? If I’m going to call myself Christian (“like Christ”), I have to be like Christ. Otherwise, I’m just a liar.


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