Perhaps that common theme of humanity’s inability to stop committing the same destructive errors is part of the reason Allegiant has been widely panned by critics, a view that appears shared by the public given the film’s relatively poor performance in the box office (its opening weekend barely grossed half the revenues of its predecessors). Each film has led viewers down a similar path to reach largely the same conclusion.
That lack of originality seems partially due to Lionsgate’s choice to split the original trilogy’s final story into two parts, with the finale coming next year. As a result, they had to water down the plot in order to yield a second film. Allegiant is still an entertaining movie and is on par with Insurgent. However, by splitting the story in two, the studio forced the audience to wait another year for the originally intended conclusion. The result is a stopping point that feels somewhat artificial and too similar to the previous movies.
While that shortcoming can be redeemed to some extent in the final movie, it limits how good this film can be. Our sins function in much the same way.
C. S. Lewis once said of God, “Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed him.” God is constantly working to bring good from our sin and the sins of those around us (Romans 8:28) and no mistake is beyond his capacity to forgive and redeem (1 John 1:9). However, we still lose something when we sin.
The vast majority of the Old Testament recounts God’s plan for Israel and their ability to find new ways to mess that plan up. His will was ultimately done but seldom in his preferred manner, and their disobedience always at a cost to his people. Whether it was the extra forty years in the wilderness, the long line of evil kings, or the exile in Babylon, God consistently found a way to use Israel’s mistakes to take care of them and provide a line through which Christ could come to save all of humanity. But it could have been so much easier if his people had simply obeyed from the start.
We struggle to learn that lesson today as well. We make much of God’s redemption, and rightfully so, but consider how much better our lives could be if he was free to spend less time redeeming and more time blessing his original plan. There are certainly times that do require that redemption because of events or actions beyond our control. However, more often than not, at least part of the fault lies with us.
So the next time you are tempted to disobey the Lord, remember that just because God can redeem that disobedience doesn’t mean that that it won’t cost you something. We may never fully understand that cost this side of heaven, but God does, and it’s part of the reason he longs to see us obey his original plan. Will you start today?