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AT THE MOVIES: ’40’ & ‘Redeemed’ reminders of God’s grace

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) — Dramatized precautionary tales for the Christian come at a cost, whether tackling the issue of abortion in the documentary “40,” or adultery in “Redeemed.”

The pro-life documentary 40 examines the effects of abortion during the 40 years since Roe v. Wade. The film takes a straightforward stand and sends a warning to young women, making it clear that there is a subconscious price to pay for aborting a child. The documentary will no doubt have an effect on thousands of girls and women who have, until now, reasoned that they, not the unborn, are the only ones with civil rights.

But what of the woman who has already undergone the procedure? How do these messages affect her?

Too often we defenders of the unborn come across as unfeeling or unthinking in regard to those who followed through on that course of action. Abortion is sin, but it can be forgiven. The woman who condemns herself for the deed need only ask for God’s forgiveness. If she does, she will find it. And one day, she will be reunited with her child in heaven. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just throwing stones.

The movie Redeemed concerns a church-going businessman who has been married 20 years, but is tempted when he encounters a beautiful female associate. The movie is a potent, well-meaning warning that emphasizes how infidelity will haunt those with a conscience. Indeed, it is a film that should be seen by newlyweds and those getting ready to enter the 7-year-itch period.

But for those who have already repented of adultery, the experience of seeing films that focus on this subject can rekindle the fires of guilt.

Ever wish you could push a button and revisit a decision you made that defined your character? Have you pondered how it would change your world if you could just go back and alter that particular decision?

We are reminded in Genesis that when Esau gave away his birthright for a bowl of soup, he later cried bitter tears over that bad judgment. His regret didn’t change the outcome. The point of that story, at least one point, is that we have to live with bad decisions. These choices are generally made from selfishness, ego, lust, or just plain stupidity. As we grow spiritually, those undoable acts can haunt us. And no matter how often we ask God for forgiveness, we may be further frustrated by screen characters who make the right choices and avoid our mistakes.

There is good news, which often takes a backseat in movie parables. Most biblical personalities, including Moses, David, Peter and Paul, had to live with their transgressions. Our biblical heroes underwent negative character-defining moments. Punished, and perhaps feeling tremendously unworthy due to their folly, each was still redeemed. They were loved by God and went on to serve our Heavenly Father.

Does that mean King David never again thought about the man he had murdered, even after repenting and being renewed by God’s embrace? Did he just blissfully go through the rest of his life never thinking about that past evil act?

Maybe. But this raises one more question concerning our guilt. That is, even if we believe God has forgiven us, how can we forgive ourselves? To truly trust God means accepting that He can bring right out of our wrong.

If we are forgiven, will our prayers for those we’ve wronged fall on deaf ears? Satan will try to convince us that God won’t listen. That’s when we must remember the importance of faith in our Heavenly Father, for nothing is more important in our relationship to Him than childlike trust.

I include myself among those yet unable to completely accept absolution for past mistakes. We find little solace in films where the theme is more about not making the mistake than being forgiven for it.

There is comfort in Romans 8:1: “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus.” Remember this the next time you’re overcome by guilt.

    About the Author

  • Phil Boatwright