In the 1999 sci-fi film, The Matrix, a man named Morpheus frees the movie’s hero, Neo, from the Matrix's tangly grip. Morpheus describes the Matrix as, a simulated reality created by sentient machines in order to pacify, subdue and make use of the human population as an energy source by growing them and connecting them to the Matrix with cybernetic implants.
Morpheus presents Neo with a choice, swallow the red pill and you'll be released from the Matrix’s grip and know the truth. You will enter the world of the REAL. Swallow the blue pill, and everything will go back to the way it was; the Matrix will become nothing more than a faint memory of a distant dream. But you’ll still be plugged in.
Neo chose the red pill.
Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 tells us:
"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of merrymaking."
While I seriously doubt I'm a human battery for a society of nefarious computers, I do see a strong similarity between the human experience and the Matrix, spiritually speaking.
The Matrix is a simulated reality; meaning what is seen, felt and accepted as real is not, NOT reality.
The Matrix is designed to pacify and subdue humankind.
Consider those Christ blessed in his Sermon on the Mount. The poor in spirit, the mourning, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted. As Ecclesiastes says, those who take it to heart that, without Jesus, every life ends in death apart from God.
Consider the various and sundry ways each of us try to avoid meekness, poverty and persecution. For the most part, we are NOT about inhabiting the house of mourning. We are about erecting the house of “partying like it’s 1999.” Decorating it with flashing neon palm trees and ordering up deli trays and hors d’ouvres. Mixing another margarita or coke float. Even washing it’s laundry and mowing it’s lawns.
In the world of the Matrix, life is a party scene. It’s my constant pursuit of a feel-good.
I want accolades and a distraction- something to numb me to the gnawing suspicion that I’m not quite right on my own.
There are days that I feel like I'm living in the Matrix. I allow my focus to drift off the glorious riches of His goodness. I dull my sensitivity to the movement and conviction of the Holy Spirit. I choose a temporary warm-fuzzy over the harder-to-find-but-much-more-valuable, eternal riches.
What seems to be a good thing and in my best interest, is really and truly NOT reality. What feels best to me may, actually, be the worst thing possible because it dulls my senses and numbs me to the reality that I am not well.
In the world of the REAL, I am not a self-made woman but a mere child held preciously in the hand of my Savior.
I am, in the world of the REAL, a sinner standing in need of grace.
In the world of the REAL, I am fallen flesh that's been redeemed for the glory of my Lord.
In the world of the REAL, the perceived weak are actually the strong and those who appear to be fools are actually wise. But our flesh deceives us. And the world deceives us. It lulls us to sleep with its attractive words and baubles and bangles.
The Matrix of Merrymaking keeps me happily asleep to the world of the REAL. But Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, offers us the spiritual equivalent of Morpheus' red pill. Jesus beckons us to see beyond the Matrix of Merrymaking, and to enter the world of the REAL.