For whatever reason, I’m one who tends to analyze songs for deeper meanings and theological connections. Though she’s had a few hits on the radio since, Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” has a certain lyric that’s stuck with me. At the end of verse two she sings, “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream”.
While she’s singing about a romantic relationship, this line made me stop and think about the reality of sin in the world. Sinful things are presented as attractive. If they were shown for their true nature, then why would we want to do it? The nightmare of sin is disguised and portrayed as a daydream of happiness, fulfillment, and excitement. Then when we fall into the temptation, we awake to the reality of the situation. The fall of man in Genesis 3:1-7 is the perfect example. Satan didn’t approach Eve with a rotten egg and warn her about the woes of disobedience. Rather, he cunningly offered an attractive piece of fruit and the promise that her eyes would be opened.
And all it took was one bite. Adam and Eve didn’t have to devour a four course meal to change the course of human history. So too, if we’re not careful, the smallest misstep can easily turn into a serious issue. All it takes is a little poop to ruin a whole pan of brownies. (See more on that reference here)
I once heard a wonderful homily regarding this similar topic. The priest spoke about sheep and how they (along with other livestalk) are attracted to a plant called nightshade. This plant is appealing to them in every way. It has lovely flowers, tastes delicious, and has a nice scent. To the sheep, it seems like the perfect food. However, despite its appeal, nightshade is poisonous to animals.
Similarly, so many things in our own lives are toxic – they seem appealing but are harmful to our bodies and/or souls. The examples are endless, including things like drugs, drunkenness, theft, pornography and sexual promiscuity which are all portrayed in pop culture as thrilling, fun, and normal experiences. This is where having a well formed conscious, discernment, and virtue are vital to recognize the false promises that we encounter. And if we are able to recognize the red flags ourselves, lets use that knowledge and experience to prevent others from falling into trouble. Thankfully, even if/when we do fall, there is forgiveness in Christ who makes the worst nightmares into beautiful daydreams.