Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Osananajimi Series, Part 2: PDA

It's been a long while since I initially started the Osananajimi Series, where I look at one of anime's favorite romantic interest archetypes and how it reminds me of the relationship between God and a Christian who has grown up in the church. This time, what I will be talking about is pretty applicable to all Christians, and there won't be a specific anime series that I will be drawing from, instead drawing from the osananajimi archetype in general.

The subject of this post is PDA. However, it does not stand for Public Displays of Affection here, but rather, Promises, Deeds, and Attributes--what childhood friends have to do with them, and what they have to do with our relationship with God.

It's a promise that transcends... well, you'll have to watch Kanon to see.




Promises

One of the classic tropes involving osananajimi is the good old childhood marriage promise, where two children promise to marry each other after growing up. Whether they have any intention to hold to that promise varies from show to show. Promises don't have to be of the marriage sort, though; other promises, even ones as simple as promising to always be by each other's side, are also significant parts of many childhood friendships. Whatever the case, promises are a notable part of many shows, such as Nisekoi, Kanon, and Ai Yori Aoshi.

Promises are also an important part of our relationship with God, as God has made many promises to His people: He promises to always be with us during our time on earth, and He promises that we will be with Him for eternity after death. And while humans, may break promises, either intentionally or not, God never breaks His promises.

Promises give us hope. The promises of a childhood friend give the hope of a reunion or marriage; God's promises give us hope of a better future.

Deeds

Many childhood friends hold close to their hearts those times in their past when their friend showed  kindness to them. With the memories of those kind deeds, they know that their friend is someone they can trust, have faith in, and perhaps even love. It's a part of pretty much every osananajimi story where the childhood friends remember each other, and can even play a part in some shows, like Engaged to the Unidentified, when one of the friends doesn't remember the other until they are told of their past and what the other friend had done for them.

With God, those who have grown up in the Christian faith may remember some of His deeds personally if He helped them in their life in some memorable way. These moments can be important in helping those who grow up in the faith maintain that faith as they grow up. Regardless of whether one has any past personal experiences with God's deeds, though, the Bible has a written record of his many good deeds for us in the past, most importantly how He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins.

For better or worse, the past deeds of a person are often the best indicator of whether or not to put our faith in him or her. Whether they be the kind memories of an old friend or the great things done by a great God, those past deeds are a large reason we have faith in who we do.

Attributes

A common characteristic of childhood friends is how much they know about each other. Of course, this frequently means knowing about each other's unsavory sides and knowing just what annoys the other the most, but it also means they know the most about the good attributes of the other, such that it becomes quite clear why they like (or even love) each other.

Chizuru and Ryu of Kimi ni Todoke know each other quite well, allowing them to support each other in critical times.
The more we know about someone, the greater the love we can have for them, whether romantic or otherwise. For fellow humans, it requires knowing both the good and the bad of the other person; when it comes to God, though, one of His attributes is His perfection, so it's mainly coming to further understand His goodness, as well as the things He likes, hates, and wants to do in the world. And while we can certainly learn those things intellectually through reading the Bible, the only way to truly know God is to spend time with Him, just like how childhood friends know each other well from the time they spend together. (Reading a person's profile on a dating website just doesn't cut it sometimes.)

Past, Future, and Present: Faith, Hope and Love

Promises, deeds, and attributes work together to create a multifaceted relationship, whether with a childhood friend or with God. Deeds remind us of the past, and give us a basis for faith. Promises give us a future to look forward to, and produces hope. And as we get to know someone's attributes in the present, we will grow to love them more.

Faith, hope, and love. As 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, these three are what will remain once we leave this current life and all unnecessary things are lost. They are the three most important things (with love being the most important), and while they are an important part of any relationship (such as osananajimi relations), they are critical to our relationship with God. In looking at childhood friend stories, we can learn how a greater understanding of promises, deeds, and attributes help develop such relationships in this way.

As a final note, a great way to tune our hearts towards understanding God's promises, deeds, and attributes is through worship. Worship songs are frequently designed to imprint who God is, what He has done, and what He will do in our minds and hearts through music. (Worship is also an actual public display of affection, although one that is generally more acceptable.) Of course, worship goes beyond singing songs, and goes into leading worshipful lives, but the more we are in tune with our faith in, hope in, and love for God, the more we can lead lives of worship.

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