Every Friday we’ll take a break from topical posts and will post some random personal thoughts.
A Cuppa Joe – Random Ramblings from a Fellow Struggler
Just took my wife and son to see the new political thriller The Debt. If you’re a fan of suspense films, this one’s a rare treat. The tension is relentless, the performances restrained and spot on, and you genuinely care what happens to everyone involved. Despite some unnecessary though non-explicit sexual content and crude language, I loved it. And like all stories I love, it got me thinking.
The plot centers on three middle aged Jewish professionals who, as activists in the early 60’s, attempted to kidnap a former Nazi torturer (clearly based on Auschwitz’s notorious Dr. Mengele) who’d escaped trial and was practicing medicine in Berlin. Hoping to bring him to justice in Israel, they devised a trap, set it, missed their mark but went on to become recognized as heroic freedom fighters nonetheless. Nearly forty years later, this episode in their lives has come back to haunt them with a new twist, leaving all three to face enormous decisions about their reputations and future.
After the film we had a terrific discussion/debate about three points the story raised.
We should hate injustice.
“Diverse weights and diverse measures are an abomination”, Solomon warns in Proverbs 20:10, reminding us to judge rightly, without double standard, and to despise unfairness as He does. The lead characters in The Debt certainly did; obsessively, at times, but to their credit. Sometimes the cultural battles conservative Christians seem focused on are the usual suspects – same sex marriage and abortion come to mind – which are critical, but not exclusively. Injustice in any form should also raise our ire, seeming as repugnant to us as sexual sin. So in the midst of my concern over America’s moral decline, I have to ask myself if I’m as indignant about a prisoner’s mistreatment or a wealthy corporation’s abuse of funds as I am about Chaz Bono’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Priorities are telling, and they matter.
Injustice is inevitable in this fallen world.
David stressed over the way unrighteous men seemed to prosper, while righteous folks suffered needlessly (Psalm 73: 1-9) until he considered what finally becomes of them. That’s the only way we can be at peace while facing the inequities of this life. Good people endure horrors; evil people live comfortable long lives; evil people suffer; good people prosper; and so on. No rhyme or reason, it seems, and, worst of all, no justice. This is not to say we should invalidate the earlier point that we should fight injustice. Rather, it’s to say that the only way to peacefully fight it is to realize in this life, there will always be a degree of it, as that’s the way of sin and therefore the way of a sinful world. When one of the main characters in the film was asked what he wanted to do with his life, he could only think of completing their mission to bring an evil man to justice. Nothing else mattered; no other life goals existed. May that not be said of us. There’s wrong to fight, yes. But there’s also right to live out.
Lies are heavy burdens.
One the The Debt’s primary messages is that when you present yourself as being more than you are, or something other than what you are, you pay. The luxury of acclaim and approval is intoxicating, sometimes leading people to concoct layers of falsehoods to save face and maintain their dignity. But when Jesus called Satan the Father of Lies, that said a lot about God’s viewpoint of dishonesty. So let’s strive to be ourselves, imperfect but authentic, rather than live behind self-imposed masks that make us look very good but, in the end, drain us of so much vitality and truth.
I think you’ll like this film. I think you’re also in for some serious reflection if you see it. Have great weekend.