The Power Forgiveness Can Have: Rewatching The Prestige

Lately I’ve been going back and rewatching some of my favorite movies, especially ones that I have not seen in a long time.  Last week, I rewatched The Prestige.

the-prestige

The Prestige, which starred Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johannson and directed by Christopher Nolan, tells the story of two magicians/illusionists and the rivalry that developed which turned very personal.  Both Robert Angier (Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Bale) wanted to be the best and would stop at nothing to do just that.  In the end, the price that they both paid not only cost them but those around them.

There’s a lot one can unpack from a Christopher Nolan film.  One could rewatch his films numerous times and pick up different things.  This time when I was watching the film there were two things that stood out and I tweeted about them while I was watching the film.  The first was this: “If there is a word that is an underlying theme in this film it is hubris.” The other thing was this: “And how forgiveness could’ve kept things from escalating as it did.”

Both men had a huge amount of pride.  They wanted to be the greatest magician/illusionist in the world.  And both of them felt they were better and smarter than the other.  This hubris blinded them to the damage they caused.  Borden made a mistake which led to the death of Angier’s wife.  Instead of being sorry or asking for forgiveness, Borden went on to become a solo act.  Instead of Angier not pursing revenge, he hijacked a performance and shot Borden which cost him two fingers.  And on and on until there was irreparable damage done to not just the two men but their wives, friends, colleagues and everyone around them.

Granted if one had shown grace and mercy to the other it would’ve been a very short film.  But the truth remains.  Their anger and thirst for revenge drove both men in ways that made the situation worse.  On the flip side, forgiveness was right there and could’ve stopped a lot of heartache for both men.

Forgiveness is such a beautiful thing but it also can be one of the hardest things to do.  It is so easy to hold onto hurts, to hold onto wrongs done.  But God calls us to forgive.  We are called to forgive because He has forgiven us.  He forgave us with great cost to Him with His son Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.  He chooses to forgive us even though we wrong Him with our sins.  That is the beauty of forgiveness, that restoring of relationship.

Angier and Borden could not forgive one another.  Each man wanted to prove he was better than the other.  In the end, they proved that their actions kept them from being the best that they could’ve been as well as hurting their relationships with those around them.  May we be people that forgive.  It may come as a great cost but the rewards are much greater.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 4

“Answer me when I call,
God, who vindicates me.
You freed me from affliction;
be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted?
How long will you love what is worthless
and pursue a lie?Selah
Know that the Lord has set apart
the faithful for Himself;
the Lord will hear when I call to Him.
Be angry and do not sin;
on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.Selah
Offer sacrifices in righteousness
and trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, “Who can show us anything good?”
Look on us with favor, Lord.

You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and new wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.”  (Psalms)

David was one of the best writers.  He wrote many psalms which covered a wide range of areas, many of these we have turned into worship songs.  In this psalm, we see again the importance of turning to God in worship and trusting Him.

As I was recently reading it, the verse that stood out was verse 4 “Be angry and do not sin;
on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Selah”  In 2017, this is a very important verse to remember.  Our society has made being angry a virtue and has praised it.  It is so easy to get angry and let it drive directly towards sin but that is not what God wants for us.  He wants us to not sin.  So when there are those times when it is legit to get angry, let us not let it careen us off to sin.  And especially to not get angry and sin when it’s not a legit time to get angry.

The other part of that verse “on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.”  We live in a time when hustle and bustle is a way of life.  We get so caught up in being busy that we don’t often take the time to slow down.  But we need to take time to stop, to be still and listen to what God has to say.  It is a discipline that would greatly help us and one that would help us to grow closer to Him.

So this week, let us take time to stop and be still to listen to the Lord.  And let us go about doing good showing God’s love and being grateful for the one who has vindicated us.

Thursday Quote Day: Tim Keller

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote from pastor and author Tim Keller:

“Our need for worth is so powerful that whatever we base our identity and value on we essentially ‘deify.’ We will look to it with all the passion and intensity of worship and devotion, even if we think ourselves as highly irreligious.”  (Tim Keller)