Monday Motivator – August 11

Dawn of The Planet of the Apes is one of my favorite summer movies of 2014. There are a lot of issues like family, community, leadership, trust, friendship, and forgiveness to deal with under grim circumstances that challenged my thinking. The movie also makes it hard at times to tell the good guys from the bad. Often a blessing became a burden. Things that should have made life easier contributed to conflict and difficulty.

I remember a TV show a while back about a woman who targeted another woman who she learned was having an affair with her husband. The mistress worked at a public school and one day her email was hacked. She was checking her email and saw the “mailer-daemon” subject listing…more than 100 returned messages.

It was baffling because she had not sent any of the emails that were returned. The mystery continued until she contacted the school IT department the next day. One of the IT staff poked through the inbox and found an electronic greeting sent to the school faculty from her address with the message, “stay away from my husband.” It was an attempt not only to expose the woman’s infidelity but publicly and professionally embarrass her.

It was not hard to imagine the hurt, guilt, and shame the woman felt that motivated her to lash out at a total stranger in an effort to damage another person. She certainly wasn’t stupid because she knew how to hack the teacher’s email account (she had a background in computer science and work as a computer programmer in this episode). Once in, she accessed the email addresses of the rest of the school faculty and sent nuisance email messages to a lot of innocent people in her angry response to repay evil with more evil.

Read Romans 5:12-21.

The TV show reminded me of how and why Jesus and His Kingdom is so different from any other system on planet Earth. Instead of making guilty people pay for what they did, He made guilty people innocent by what He (an innocent God-man) did for them. Instead of lashing out at them in anger for all the evil they each brought into the world, Jesus reached out in love and took all their evil onto Himself on the cross of Calvary. That’s why he is called, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” His grace may be free, but it is not cheap.

I won’t give away any of the plot of “Dawn of The Planet of The Apes” since the movie is still in the theater. There are a lot of questions raised in the movie about guilt, responsibility, owning your mistakes, paying the price for poor decisions, and forgiveness. One question to wrestle with is, “If you or I are trying to make ourselves (or someone else) suffer for our sin, what are we accomplishing?” Another is why are you hesitant to accept God’s forgiveness?

Jesus gave up all of His power to justify us. It is essential that each of us learns what to do with guilt – our own and that of others around us. The only good place for it to be (ultimately) is on the shoulders of the One who proved He is strong enough to bear it. Christ Jesus took the weight of everyone’s sin upon Himself when He died on the cross. He rose again in victory over evil.

Think theologically. Now sin, guilt, and shame cannot hold me in its power any longer because Christ took the weight of all of it. Since He took your guilt, why feel guilty?

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2014 by Mike Olejarz

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