Tuesday, February 19, 2008

To End All Wars

We had a fruitful discussion on the movie To End All Wars in our Christian Ed Sunday. While we had fewer people than with The Waitress (which surprised me-this movie actually had a Christian screen writer), our time was beneficial to me-and I hope to all who participated. I highly recommend this movie. However, recognize that it is HEAVY. But I've not seen a movie that more clearly and practically displays the gospel and its power to change lives.

The movie is based upon a true story of Scottish POW's in WWII who build the trans-Burmese railroad. Obviously conditions didn't prove beneficial to living or loving, yet some prisoners found strength through the gospel and its application to life. For anyone to love in those conditions, the power of the gospel would HAVE to be real. And it was. And it still is. Fortunately, that means there's hope for all of us to love our enemies.

One of the topics of discussion-and there will probably be several more to follow-was the need to understand the culture/background/personal idols of people among whom we're living. The Japanese followed (to some extent) the Bushido code, which valued honor and deference to superiors, and devalued the individual and right to life.

Upon arrival, the POW doctor reminded the Scottish lads that beating a White person was like beating someone of an inferior race, tantamount to beating a dog. In addition, they had to learn to bow in deference to the guards. Since these guards were the lowest of the lows (that's how you get to run Japanese prison camps), respect went a long way to these folks. In time, the POW's learned how to better relate AND communicate with the Japanese. In one instance, a guard (an enemy) actually became friends with and stayed with the POW's when all the other Japanese fled the scene.

We agreed that it is necessary to understand the mindset of those among whom we live. For all people subscribe to some sort of code, idol, or system of thought. It is nearly impossible to get to heart issues without understanding where one's ultimate allegiance lies. In other words, we need to understand WHY people do things: they act according to what they hold most dear. We should always be on the lookout for the WHY. The POW's began to understand the WHY and thus managed to live among and communicate with those hostile towards them. So too must we seek the WHY, in order to live among our neighbors, become friends with, and eventually, hopefully, communicate the gospel to them via our lives, Christian community, Church, and personal discussions.

No comments: