Theme: Being yourself
Bible refs: Psalm 139 vv 13-15
Similar clips: Pleasantville: Masks and Make-up – 55 mins 33 secs to 57 mins and 56 secs
Location of clip: 22 mins 48 secs to 23 mins 24 secs
Danny and Sandy are in love. They meet during the summer vacation and have the holiday romance to end them all. When school starts up Sandy goes back to Australia and Danny goes back to being cool and hanging with his mates. However, they are both in for a shock. Plans change and Sandy ends up going to Rydel High, Danny’s school. Before too long they will meet again, and then sparks will fly.
Sandy joins a girl gang, the Pink Ladies, led by Betty Rizzo. When she talks about Danny Zucco, the love of her life, The Pink Ladies can’t believe it. They know Danny – but he doesn’t sound anything like the Prince Charming Sandy describes. So they take Sandy to meet Danny and she is in for a shock. At first Danny is overjoyed – he can’t believe he is seeing his beloved Sandy again. The he realises his friends are watching and suddenly he transforms into Mr Cool. He loses all sincerity and puts on a front. He’s more concerned about what his mates will think than what Sandy feels. He bluffs his way along until Sandy accuses him of being a fake. She storms off with the other Pink Ladies, leaving Rizzo to stare long and hard at Danny. Rizzo knows what he’s really like, she sees through his cover. Danny is a fake, he’s trying to be cool, but underneath it – he’s normal – and scared.
Danny likes Sandy a lot. He doesn’t really want to hurt her. But the peer pressure from his friends is too great. He wasn’t emotionally prepared for this moment. Suddenly he’s exposed, he runs for cover. He fakes being cool. It would cost him too much to be honest with Sandy in front of his friends.
Peer pressure dogs us all our life. As we grow up it turns into general conformity – but it’s still peer pressure. We absorb the accepted forms of behaviour and forget who we really are. We learn how to cover up, which masks best fit which occasion. And some of those masks are Christian ones. We quickly learn how to behave in church – and we equate that behaviour with what is acceptable to God. Yet that’s ridiculous. God sees us as we are – all the crappy thoughts, all the hours of heartbreak, every blundering moment.
He sees us when we’re being hionest and when we’re faking it. And what’s more,m he understands the pressures we are under. He knows why we fake it. And he knows our weaknesses. Hebrews 4 verses 14-16 goes even further, it reminds us that that Jesus lived this life and experienced the pressures for himself. Psalm 139 describes us as complex people. This may explain why it’s sometimes hard to understand ourselves or why we react in certain ways.
The truth about Jesus is that he is there in our moments of pretense, ready to help us discover reality and take a step towards genuine integrity. We don’t have to be cool, competent or sorted out.
It’s risky living, but in God we can find the grace to help us be ourselves.
1. Vulnerability is not encouraged in our culture – how do we cope with this?
2. Often we need to be successful – in work and at church. What do you think of this?
3. Have you experienced moments when peer pressure has turned you into something of a fake?
4. Which kind of mask do you find yourself wearing most often?
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?