After watching Hamlet, I decided it was time to watch several adaptations of Oscar Wildes ‘The picture of Dorian Gray’. Then, I read the book synopsis and compared it mentally to what I remember of the book. While watching the movie adaptations, I paid particular attention to underlying themes. Of course the main theme is hedonism. Living life with no consequences to bad actions. Lord Henry Wotton was in fact a bad influence on the young impressionable Dorian. In fact, it was Wotton that put such a high value to youth and beauty that made Dorian ‘sell his soul’ so his painting would age instead of him. And it was The special attention of the artist Basil that started Dorian to think his own youth and beauty was deservedly special.
After Dorian came to the realization that his dream or bargain had come true and his picture was changing instead of him that he decided a full life of hedonistic depotchery could be experienced without consequences. Even after the suicide of the woman he loved, and the murder of the man who painted his portrait yet no outside change in his appearance, he decided on an 18 year search for any experience no mater how dark. Drugs and sexual perversions would have no negative consequences on his outer appearance. Those in his presence became almost mesmerized with him much to their ultimate destruction. And yet his painting became a cancerous ugly mass. Like being able to look directly at a mirror that reflects back an image of your soul as he had to live with the discrepancy between his outer purity and his inner depravity, or his outer beauty and inner ugliness.
Now compare this Victorian English novel written in the late 1890’s to America today. In the last seven years or more, we have a minority of citizens that do not like looking in the mirror of their soul. They want to live life of depravity and debotchery with no consequences, just like the young Dorian Gray. Only they can’t cover their painting and hide it from the world so they want the ugliness to be the new normal. They seek to destroy those that point out their souls ugliness like Dorian murdered Basil Hallward. Basil, upon gazing at the ugliness of the painting implored Dorian to seek help to change what had been done. But just as Dorian murdered his friend in a fit of instant rage, those that seek to live a life of depravity will strike at those that point it out.
I instantly think of the law of sin and death.
In I Chorinthians 15:56-58, we read that ‘the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law’ (The New King James). Also, in Romans 8:1&2 ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.’ (The New King James) I John 3:4 ‘Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.’ (The New King James).
So let us use simple algebra. Sin = lawlessness. Lawlessness = sin. There is the law of sin and death so sin = death
S = sin
D = death
L = law
so L-=S=D or simply put, L-=D
Dorian Gray lived a life of lawlessness in the eyes of the mirror to the soul, his painting. Those that gazed upon that painting, gazed upon Dorians soul. Those with discernment can gaze upon America today and see its soul. Like Dorian, those with discernment can see the cancerous image reflected back. That reflection is lawlessness. Lady Liberty must be crying at the sight of America today.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we read ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.’
We have already been given the formula to correct the image of the lawless soul. Step by step God gives us the formula. Humility, prayer, seek God and turn away from lawlessness.
Can you gaze upon your soul without wretching?