I recently watched the movie Patriots Day (2016, starring Mark Walberg and others). It is based on the real, tragic events surrounding the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon held on April 15, 2013. The movie is coarse and rough, filled with "F-ing" language and graphic violence, though it seems fitting for the subject matter and the situations depicted. I am sure being there in person during these events would have been far more difficult and ugly than could possibly be shown in a movie.
Perhaps the main takeaway for me from this movie is at the very end of the show when Wahlberg's character is shown struggling to understand the events of that week. How could any human being do this kind of violence to others? How can you explain or understand this sort of horrific behavior that brings such incredible harm to others? The explanation that he comes up with for himself and the other characters in the scene is that it is a struggle, a war between good and evil, love and hate. And he assuredly affirms that good will win, that love will come out ahead in the end.
The characters whom Wahlberg quite often plays are very violent. But there is often a point to the violence, which is used in the eradication of evil, the protection of the "innocent," the carrying out of justice. I admit I have not seen all of his films, but I have seen a number of them. He often plays the "good guy" who is set against the "bad guys."
In life we often see a struggle, between good and evil, love and hate. How should we deal with it, and understand this conflict? Many people blame God for everything, saying that He created it all. Others understand that, though God created all things, He has allowed the free will of man to determine what we do in relation to other people and our surroundings. There is a "natural order" and "natural laws" that come into play, and we see the results as good or bad depending on whether or not there is pain and suffering that results.
A verse of Scripture comes to mind in reflecting on this movie, and that is, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."
(Romans 12:15) There was much pain for many that day in Boston, brought on by a few who would bring harm to others in support of "what they believe." There are others who surely rejoiced when the culprits were eliminated or captured.
To me, the elimination of evil is not to be relished, enjoyed, or celebrated, but simply taken care of for the sake of good. There are those who take joy in the "bad guys" getting there due, who are almost gleeful in the taking down of an evil character, a criminal who has committed horrendous crimes, or in the defeat of a group or even a country that has committed terror and violence on fellow men.
Whether it is the capture and confinement (or even capital punishment) of a vicious criminal or terrorist, or the successful act of self-defense in day to day life, or even the winning of a war like World War II, stopping the likes of international murderous conquest like that of Hitler or Japan, it is my belief that we do not need to take glory in death. Rather, we are to glory in life, remembering the words of Jesus.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10
American natives ("Indians") have been depicted at times as quite reverent about killing a buffalo or deer for meat and its hide, almost sorry that the animal had to give its life for the sake of the human. I have felt similarly when I have taken the life of a deer, not for its antlers or a trophy, but for the meat that is both tasty and nourishing. I remember even having tears in my eyes when I shot my first squirrel as a teenager. I have also deeply enjoyed watching or photographing a squirrel or other animals in nature, scurrying around sometimes even comically, living their lives.
One of the most difficult and most divisive discussions in our country and the world today concerns abortion. It is nearly always on my mind and heart. It is the intentional ending of the life of a baby, an unborn offspring of two people, its violent removal from what should be the safest place in the world at the start of its life.
I have recently read an excellent article that clearly discusses the topic of abortion. (1) The author, Alyssa Ahlgren, is quite clear in her thinking. After pointing out various arguments for abortion, and the faults of these arguments, she quite poignantly points out that:
"This is where we can establish the only argument worth any intellectual merit on the pro-abortion side. A woman’s comfort, convenience, and life circumstance are more valuable than an individual’s right to live."
How sad that many think this way, and so many others struggle and fight for the right to think this way.
My hope is that we come to celebrate life in the deepest and most profound ways. It is God who gives and sustains life. Glory to God!