A couple of days before, I saw a movie called ‘Gran Torino.’ The movie was directed by legendary action star Clint Eastwood and Eastwood starred in it as well. The movie is rated ‘R’ for its language and it is totally unsuitable for children, but unusually (and please don’t start throwing eggs at me) I would recommend every mature Christian to watch this movie for its general theme.
Eastwood plays a Korean war-veteran, who knows much about deaths in life more than life itself. Being a soldier who once killed ruthlessly, he is violent man and someone who wants to be left alone. After his wife’s death, some Hmong immigrants move in next door. At first Eastwood’s character does not like his new neighbors at all, but events cause him to grow very close in friendship with a Hmong boy. As the friendship grows, the Hmong boy’s family is harassed by gang members daily. Now Eastwood’s character is concerned about the family, and at first immediately tries to solve it with violence. But violence brings more violence and the family ends up traumatized and Eastwood’s character is left in shock as with how much more trouble he has brought with violence.
Eastwood now sits alone in the dark with a priest, and quietly decides in his own mind that he must end this once and for all. At this point the viewer is left thinking that Eastwood wants to kill all of the gang members. Remember that the character knows more about death than life. But shockingly, he instead sacrifices his very own life --- for the safety of the Hmong boy with whom he became friends, landing all of the gang members in jail for murder before a lot of witnesses. At the end of the movie the protagonist has stated that he “is at peace.”
Sacrifice is something that we Christians tend to dissociate ourselves from. We praise a lot about our Savior’s valuable sacrifice for our sins, but in stark contrast forget the Lord’s saying in the gospel of John.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
How many of us does not take this literally but instead flee when our friends and loved ones are in need.? Yes, sometimes Jesus’ words are very demanding of our lives, but we should realize than the moment we arise from the water in baptism, our lives are His and not our own. Sacrifice is indeed a very demanding word and sometimes it may mean death. But God is with us and he is ready to reward us always.