Monday, June 05, 2006

What "Lilo and Stitch" taught me about Christianity

I was first introduced to "Lilo and Stich" by Achi Kimi - who, for some unexplainable reason, was so enamored by Stitch. But I wasn't convinced then because I though Stitch was an ugly monster who looked liked a mutated bat.

I was further acquainted with Stitch because my younger sister, Khara, watched the TV series on Disney channel. I watched with her when I had nothing better to do. But I still thought that Stitch was disgusting bordering on annoying.

But there seemed to be a conspiracy to get me to like Stitch as the first "Lilo and Stitch" movie was shown in the bus on our way home from Kid's camp, Tagaytay. Being attacked by a bout of travel sickness, I was unable to sleep so the movie had my undivided attention. By the end of the trip - I was fascinated by Stitch and his character, gradually even liking his appearance.

With this newfound 'respect' for Stitch, I began to regularly watch the TV series and I fell further in love with Stitch. But the love and enlightenment really blossomed when I watched the second movie installment. "Stitch has a Glitch" last night. And that's when I noticed the Christian principles embedded - albeit unconsciously - in the movie.

Stitch is an alien experiment whose primary function in life is to destroy. It is in his programming and wiring. And he got joy out of smashing, ruining and destroying whatever his teeth and hands on. But his life changed when he met Lilo. Lilo taught him the value of 'ohana' which means family. Lilo showed him a more meaningful source of joy and existence. Because of his relationship with Lilo, Stitch desired to be good - which was against his natural state.

I noticed that in the same way, sinfulness is man's natural state. And before we knew better, we loved sin because most of what is sinful is pleasurable - or so we thought. Then I met Jesus and my relationship with Him made me want to be good because I know that it will please Him. Knowing Jesus gave my meaning and purpose to my existence just like knowing Lilo gave new meaning to Stitch's life.

I guess what makes me relate to Stitch is our common struggle to overcome our 'programming' or in my case, what the Bible calls 'the flesh'. Stitch wants to be good, I want to be good but we can not fully be good because of this 'natural' hindrance. I feel Stitch's frustration when he wanted to be good for Lilo but for some reason - which was a glitch in his system - he becomes the monster he was created.

I also felt his pain and cried with Stitch when he felt Lilo's disappointment in him. I too, sometimes feel that God is disappointed in me and how I live my life. As a Christian, I want to please God so bad but being still in the flesh (which is of course, no excuse), I fail sometimes. And there are times, as Stitch did, that I want to give up because I can't understand why God still doesn't give up on me.

In the end, both Stitch and I know that we can't do it on our own. He can't be good without Lilo and I can't be good because righteousness comes from God alone. And I know that God will never give up on me no matter what because I'm part of God's 'ohana' and ohana means that "nobody gets left behind."