Written By Tay Boon Jin
Boon Jin has been a staff with Singapore Youth for Christ for the past 16 years. She now serves in Malaysia—reaching children through the teaching of English.
Killjoy was the name of a low-budget horror movie made in the year 2000. The narrative is about a toy clown named Killjoy that a young man tries to bring to life, after his love interest is stolen by a thuggish gang member. But before the spell can take effect, the young man is killed. Eventually, Killjoy comes to life and starts to wreak horrific revenge on those who killed its master. Sounds exciting? Well, the movie was lambasted by reviewers as a “poorly constructed horror film” with some even saying it was the “worst movie”. To the makers of the film, the reviewers were probably the real killjoys.
In life, there are many people that we deem as killjoys. It could be the boss who always gives us extra work to do over the weekends or that one friend who for some reason or another, always cancels appointments at the very last minute. But to some individuals, there is no greater killjoy than God himself. Today, many blame God when joyful moments cease or when they fail to experience joy in their lives.
Regardless of where we stand, we can all agree on this fact: We regard joy, also known as the feeling of great delight or pleasure, very highly in our lives, and rightly so! After all, man is created to enjoy the utmost pleasure. Man is to take pleasure, and much pleasure for that matter, in his environment, his vocation and his relationships. After all, the Bible tells us that man was created to be in a lasting, permanent and satisfying blissful state.
Yet, consider this irony: today, movie makers make millions churning out plots that bring the audience to the edge of their seats by a sudden turn of events in an otherwise happy story. In the past, the tension would invariably be resolved at the end by a positive turn of events. But these days, a happy ending is no longer a guarantee. Some postmodern filmmakers choose to leave the audience hanging with a plotline that ends abruptly or ominously, placing the blame on God or fate.
Just like in the case of the moviemakers, perhaps we are the real killjoys, not God. What else could be the reason for our delightful moments being cut short or denied? Consider, for instance, moments where we take delight in wrong pleasures, such as when police storm in to raid a drug den the very moment a group of drug takers are high on drugs. To the drug takers, the police are certainly a killjoy but to a bystander, it is apparent that the drug takers are better off without that pleasure. Or if a man indulges in food and suffers a heart attack while gorging his 100th dish, would we say that God was the killjoy (for taking his life)? Logically, we would “blame” the man himself—it is a consequence of his own insatiable appetite.
In labelling God a killjoy or rather, the killjoy, we have made ourselves the measure of all things. Like Eve, the first woman created, we have defined our delight apart from the One who gave us life—the one who gave man the Garden, the vocation to rule over creation and the relationship to love one another. The psalmist says in Psalm 16, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (v. 11 ESV). God is the source of joy and it is pleasurable to God when His creatures are full of joy in Him!
On the contrary, we are God’s killjoy—if God’s joy could ever be killed that is—when we nailed Jesus Christ to the cross because we delighted in what we ought not to. The first Garden was beautiful and one can only imagine the true joy and delight Adam had. His first vocation was not toilsome as he exercised the authority vested on him to name the animals. The first sight of his first companion was a delight that led him to unite with the woman in one flesh. Within the safe boundaries God laid, the first man and woman could live, work, and play freely.
But the tension in the narrative was created when man failed to obey God’s instruction and rejected what is truly delightful—God Himself. The eternal union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was mysteriously “broken” so that by the Son’s death, we may live. When we call on the Lord Jesus to save us from drowning in the sin of our delights, He pulls us to safety, because Jesus Christ took the punishment due to us. Now, He gives us life abundantly, to enjoy once again what God has lovingly given to us to enjoy.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
God is no killjoy. Instead, He affords us the greatest joy if we only believe and trust Him.