By Caleb Bobrycki
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox
A Worthy Western
On a fur trading expedition a fur trapper barely survives a bear attack, and must fend for himself in the wild after being left for dead by his team. Terror ensues, and the return home downward-spirals into bloodlust and madness. I quite enjoy Allejandro Iñárritu’s films, and might would say that this is his best so far. What I like most about his movies is their very distinct message; this crafty director seems to have a pallet for each piece’s own creative world and their pictures of the gospel. Needless to say DiCaprio and Hardy's performances were beyond exceptional; the shots were inexpressibly gorgeous, symbolic, and intentional; and the praiseworthy effort behind the film is not easy to miss. One of the best parts of the feature was the obvious theology; no one should miss it: taking vengeance into our own hands is wrong. Case closed.
God is a Better Judge
The Revenant made me think of Romans 12, when Paul said that vengeance was the Lord’s and that he would repay all evil. And that thought almost perfectly transitions to chapter 13 where Paul continues his practical exhortation to submit to the governing authorities that God, in his infinite wisdom, has put in place. Through these texts, God has been teaching me slowly that, firstly, his judgment must go somewhere and cannot be swept under the rug. I mean that God's wrath will either go into his Son or the sinner, and there is no need to wonder if I will be vindicated in the end. Second, I reason that there is no room for my limited, human judgment if God’s eternal justice must be served.
A question that usually raises itself, then, is where to pray that God's wrath goes. The Bible tells me that either Christ or the criminal will absorb punishment; I cannot have any satisfactory punishment of my own. But life is tough, so the only other option is prayer and meditating on God’s Word. I must pray. If I go through suffering on this earth and do not pray, I will lose my mind. So in prayer, what do I do with feelings of justice and anger? Though still not sure what to make of this, I feel more comfortable praying that Jesus Christ absorb the wrath of all of my enemies and that my Father would forgive them, rather than praying judgment upon them. I don't think this is different from when Paul said in 2 Timothy 2 that perhaps God would grant them repentance. For those circumstances in which persecution is so unjust, simply shut thine mouth and trust the Lord who has willed it, and pray that he would put punish his Son in an enemy’s place. And that, folks, is one way to turn the cheek.
If we don’t get this, then work, church, school, and life in general will be overwhelming. The world is full of only selfish people; sometimes there seems to be hope, but it only lasts for a few moments in the scope of all time, and usually even kindness has evil intentions. No one is absolutely unconditionally loving, so be prepared to be sinned against. As John the Beloved said it, “Beloved, don’t be surprised when the world hates you.” Christian, the truth is that God is a better judge than you, so no matter where you pray that he puts his justice, the point is that he is dealing with it and you aren’t. We must submit to him and not our anger; just ask DiCaprio's character, we can't handle it.