Revenge – TV Show Reveals Eternal Truth

Posted: February 19, 2013 in Christians & Culture

revenge

My wife and I recently finished watching season one of an ABC TV series called Revenge. Here is a basic plot summary from the IMDb website:

“As a summer to remember ends in the Hamptons, new arrival Emily Thorne dazzles the members of high society by making herself known in the exclusive social circle of Grayson Global CEO Conrad Grayson and his socialite wife Victoria. But it soon becomes clear that the beguiling young philanthropist has a dark past. Emily was once known as Amanda Clarke, a young nine-year-old whose life was torn apart when her father – Grayson Global hedge fund manager David Clarke – was falsely accused of channeling money to a terrorist organization responsible for the downing of a commercial airliner. Now living under an assumed identity, she is determined to seek vengeance on the people who destroyed her father’s life – the two main conspirators being Conrad and Victoria Grayson – by making their lives come crashing down around them. Because when everything you love has been stolen from you, someone has to pay.”[1]

The show is very moving, underscoring the writers’ ability to tap into the emotions of the viewers – emotions deeply real to all persons. We enjoy the show as we do precisely because the emotions are real – not fake. As Christians, our worldview is not only able to make sense of these emotions, but offers solutions to the problems that give rise to these emotions. Let’s take a look.

The Desire for Justice

Our world is full of evil – wrong actions committed by others. Each and every person is affected by evil. Everyone has been personally wronged at some point, and everyone has seen loved ones wronged. However, when a wrong is committed, we do not stop at the acknowledgement of the wrong, merely making note of its presence. No! We want justice. We want the wrongdoer punished of his crimes. In the case of minor wrongdoings, this may be nothing more than bringing the immoral action to light, but in cases of serious crimes, we want retribution – we want justice. Social order is not the primary goal; rather wrongs must be made right. This is why I cheer for Emily Thorne to bring down the crooked Grayson family. I want them to pay! I delight in justice. But why is this the case? Why are we like this?

According to the Christian worldview, man is made in the image of God, meaning specifically that we are moral and rational beings like our God. Though distorted by sin, humans not only have an understanding of right and wrong, but we intrinsically know and believe in justice. Not only do we believe in justice, but our hearts long for justice. We rejoice at the destruction of Nazi Germany and Osama Bin Laden, not out of a twisted desire, but out of a longing for the good to triumph and the evildoers to pay. We long for this because we were made in the image of our creator, the creator who loves and desires justice as well. Our longings point to a reality rooted in God- the reality of judgment.

According to the Bible, judgment is real and justice will be served. A day of reckoning will come when all wrongs will be made right. But herein lies a problem. For although we long for a day of justice, we are painfully aware that judgment will rightly fall upon our own heads. We, like all of mankind, are guilty of moral crimes. We have lied, cheated, stolen, wronged others, and most of all, we have rebelled against our creator. What must be done? Should crimes go unpunished? Certainly not! God could rightly be accused of being unjust if he just let people off the hook. But God, in his wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy, and love, has made a way to uphold justice and at the same time, let the guilty go free. The answer lies in Jesus – his life, death, and resurrection.

For those who throw themselves upon Jesus, the God-man, and place their faith and trust in him, Jesus bears the punishment for them. Jesus literally takes the just judgment deserved, so those who trust in him can be saved from punishment rightly due. God punished Jesus in the place of man, and we can be with God eternally in spite of our moral crimes against Him. All the things we long for and desperately need – love, justice, judgment and mercy – are displayed and freely offered in the person of Jesus. It is a free gift offered to any who will believe.

Know this: only one of two people will pay for your sins, you or Jesus. The choice is yours. But be certain, just judgment will be carried out.

Jordan Tong

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