Life Lessons from Breaking Bad

I am a fan of the AMC series Breaking Bad. The show depicts clearly the depth and results of doing the wrong thing for the "right" reasons. It is a tale of consequences. For an overview of the series, go here. Unlike some other headline series I have watched, Breaking Bad came to a rightful and satisfactory conclusion last night. Without over-spiritualizing a TV show, here are a few life lessons the series reiterates in a powerful way.

Sin has severe consequences.
In my opinion, Breaking Bad did not try and sensationalize wrongdoing. Instead the series shows the digression of a life marked by sin and the destruction and death it delivers. As the series ended last night, my mind immediately went to Romans 6:23a ... "the consequences of sin is death." Sin takes life - it destroys everything in its path: relationships, trust, love, moral awareness, and even physical life itself. Sin leaves a wake of brokenness and death in its corrosive path.

Sin will always take you further than you intended to go. 
One of the Christian cliches I heard growing up was "Sin will always take you further than you want to go and keep you longer than you want to stay." Walter White, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, decided to cook meth so he could provide for his family after his pending death.  What he did not realize was how far his "good intentions" choices would take him. In the end, he lost everything and it happened one step at a time.

Sin is always about getting my way.
For me, one of the best moments of the series finale was when Walt finally admitted to his estranged wife Skylar that his actions were never really about providing for the family but fulfilling his own selfish desires. We often have a tendency to justify our sinful behavior with faulty reasoning that allows us to do what we want to do. But in the end, sin is always about choosing my way over God's.

Sin will strip you of the things you love the most. 
Walt's actions eventually cost him the very things he claimed to love the most - his relationships. The Enemy will not stop until he has taken everything from you - even the things closest to your heart. His goal is not to just wound you. His goal is to destroy and kill.

Heisenberg lurks inside each of us. 
Inside Walter White, the chemistry teacher, lived Heisenberg, the meth-cooking, power-hungry murderer. Life lesson: creating an image is easy but eventually what's on the inside will surface. The Bible is clear that God looks on our hearts even when we do a great job of hiding behind our image.

Breaking Bad did not end with any true story of redemption other than everyone basically got what they seemed to deserve. Even Jesse (portrayed by pastor's son Aaron Paul) walking away seemed right in light of everything he has been through in the show. The show did a great job of demonstrating the consequences of sin in a five season storyline.

Thankfully the gospel story ends differently. The gospel is the story of how Jesus takes our consequences. He takes what we deserve. He dies so that we might live. The sinless one in the gospel story confronts and bears the sins of the guilty and in so doing he allows the undeserving to go free. In the gospel story, Jesus becomes Heisenberg so that we might walk away innocent.

Vince Gilligan did a masterful job telling the story of a man who in the end got what he deserved. In many ways, Breaking Bad is my story. It is your story. While the sin may take a different face or name, its destructive consequences are the same.  However my Breaking Bad story ends with the innocent dying and coming back to life so that the guilty can walk away free. And that is a true life-changing storyline! 

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