A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ.” Now I hadn’t actually seen this film for a good 15 years. I think I got it from Netflix on DVD at some point (it’s been a while). Back then I’m sure I “believed” but generally didn’t care. I think if anything, all the complaints of antisemitism made me curious. In the end, at that point in my life – it was just a movie.
When I was 25, I was busy clicking off every checkbox on the grand list of what NOT to do when it came to staying in the Lord’s good graces. Getting drunk, poisoning my body and mind with drugs, alcohol, pornography and fornication. You name it, I did it. Boy, I really thought I was living too. 15 years later, I am a different man. The path was long, but here I am at 40, I love and fear God above all else.
I’m still a sinner. I still do things that turn me away from God. The important thing is now I actively work to head off that sin and repent, turning back to my Creator. At times I’m still quicker to speak and anger than listening… I still succumb to irrational fears. Those are the times I realize veering off my path. There hasn’t been a single time that being prideful or fearful did NOT bite me in the ass.
My initial thought when I picked it up, was how it might impact the man I am today. I was scared, to be honest. Every time I saw it pop up in my queue, I selected something else to watch. Something with action. Something funny. I guess I needed to open a doorway into it, so I watched “The Art of Racing in The Rain.” If you’re a dog lover, or simply like a well written and expertly acted drama – I highly recommend it.
The Art of Racing in The Rain follows the story of Enzo, a Golden Retriever, and his master from being a puppy through to old age and looking forward to the next life. They weren’t overtly religious in the story, but you simply cannot deny the themes of love, marriage, sin, repentance, restoration, and hope woven throughout. Truth be told, once you look at the world through the eyes of Christ, you can’t see it any other way. Just how it is.
Once the movie was over (not giving any spoilers, seriously, watch it) the next in my queue was The Passion of The Christ. Ok, I’m in. My put my phone down, moved my laptop away, and committed to it. It’s one thing to hear the scripture interpreted for you by a preacher, or to read it from the Bible… It’s something else entirely to see it acted in front of you in high definition surround sound.
For the uninitiated, this movie covers the final 12 hours of Jesus’s life, from sweating blood at Gethsemane to his final breath on the cross, and His moment of resurrection. It. Was. BRUTAL. Watching soldiers laugh as they caned, then scourged Jesus (multi-ended whip with metal hooks on it)… Forced to carry his cross to Calvary (and seeing him embrace it). Beaten, tortured, ridiculed, yet even at the end praying for the men doing this to him.
That’s a very abbreviated summary, doesn’t even come close to describing what I saw. I knew what was coming the entire time, every moment covered in gruesome detail, and I WEPT. I’m not talking how I cried when the Terminator was lowered into the molten steel at the end of T2 Judgment Day, this was an ugly and emotionally draining cry. After seeing that representation… I finally get it, even more so than I thought I did before.
Jesus died for your sins! Such an easy thing to say, I don’t think many truly appreciate the gravity of what He endured for us. I couldn’t do it. Sacrifice my son for the sins of the world? In the heat of that moment I would sooner use my powers to annihilate his oppressors and free him. But I am most certainly not God… I’m just trying to follow His example. It’s not my job to understand, it’s my job to obey.
One message I took away from that film though… Something I need to take on myself, is to be more humble. Be humble like Jesus. I know I’ll never reach that standard, but I will try.
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.