Monday, April 6, 2009

Seven Pounds Pt. 2

*major hints and spoilers - stop if you haven't seen the movie*

I thought Seven Pounds was very moving -and very dark as well.

When you discover the reason Ben -Will Smith's character -is auditing people's souls, you accept that he has the right to judge them -for what he is giving is indeed priceless.

It also touches the heart nerve of all humans, if you will accept the mythical quality of the story. The heart nerve that we all need help - big, awesome help - and we know in our best moments, we have no right to it. We're both ashamed to ask and afraid of rejection but we are forced to hope, to wish that somehow, someone would change our lives.

From The Princess Bride to The Matrix, we hope our bad circumstances will change, and we'd be rescued from despair by someone stronger or wiser than us.

We slowly lose this hope as we grow older. We begin to accept that we are on our own and no one will save us. We'll just have to "do the best we can."

That sounds heroic, but it is a form of fatalism. "Most men live lives of quiet desperation." is a true sentiment. The fact is, if you are willing to sacrifice, you can do just about anything.

Just be careful what you sacrifice. You can have a successful career -if you sacrifice your integrity or your children or marriage or whatever. You can be the gold medal Olympian -if you sacrifice a normal high school life. By the way, I am not saying all successful businessmen or Olympians are utterly dysfunctional -but there is a price to be paid. The question is "How bad do you want this?"

You can have this or that -depending on what you sacrifice.

And the reason this is so is because OTHER humans are so competitive, and some have made a greater idol of the object desired than you have. They are more intent on the goal and more ruthless in their sacrifice.

Will Smith's character is on a road to redeem himself by sacrifice. No one is even near him in the mortal realm.

I loved it, and I was very moved (i.e. crying like a baby) when he makes his final decision. His gift does indeed change many lives.

I've been hinting at what he does and you might have guessed it by now, but there is a firm reason I think his character is Christ-like. And unfortunately, due to necessary constraints of the story we have been given, he is not.

You see, Ben only wants to give his gifts to people he deems worthy.

Christ gives his gifts to the unworthy.

Ben is trying to redeem himself. Christ was sent to redeem others. Unworthy people - like you and me.

This story - and the difference between Ben and Jesus is found in one stunning passage in the Bible:

Romans 5:6-8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

When we realize we are the powerless people and also the REBELS that Christ died to rescue, if there is any love or romance or awe left in us, it should take our breath away.

We think we are good because we try - sometimes - to be good.

Jesus says we are not. And that's OK. He knows how to solve it: He moves first.

"The son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost."

We are not searching for God as much as He is searching for us.

"Adam? Where are you?"

We are ashamed and powerless and wish things were different and we KNOW we are not good enough - look at all those 'holy-rollers' and the Pope and Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama and etc, etc.

Jesus KNOWS we are ashamed. He knows we are embarrassed. He knows we need help and strength and power. He also knows we do not have the heart to sacrifice anything else to "succeed" - whether it be in marriage or relationships or health or whatever.

We need someone to love us enough to sacrifice EVERYTHING to save our hurt and angry souls.

We don't deserve it.

He knows. He comprehends that. He also knows one touch of His hand will cure the leprosy of our hearts, our minds, and even, in some cases, our bodies.

If you find yourself strangely moved by scenes of self-sacrifice and radical love - that often ends in the death or near-death of the Lover, you are in great danger.

Jesus is after you.

By the time you read this, it is probably too late.

He's got your heart. He already knows what you love and has beat you to the punch by becoming the Very Person of Sacrificial Love.

To escape Him, you will have to rip out your heart, your deepest longings and all you know down deep to be true.

That's a sacrifice you cannot make -you dare not attempt.

Whisper His name, and He will come even closer.


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