In my opinion, “The Godfather” is the best movie ever made in America. Every intertwined storyline is resolved. The acting is perfect; the scenery and sets are subtly arranged for maximum effect. In many ways, the brilliance of the movie is in how it actually underplays the gravity of a story about murder and revenge. “Family honor,” and “justice”, right? No. It’s about revenge. Among many things, The Godfather is about revenge.
Revenge is embracing evil. Sure, it’s “justifiable” sometimes, isn’t it? I mean, if you’re married and you’ve been in a terrible relationship for decades, it’s understandable, it’s ok, for you to want to rake that so-and-so over the coals because they deserve it, right? No, it’s just embracing evil.
Or ‘your promotion’ was given to someone else, some upstart who sucked up to the boss and got what you’ve been working years to get. It’s ok if you work to subvert them, to make them look bad, to hang them out to dry because what they did to you was wrong, right? No, it’s just embracing evil.
We get cut off in traffic, or at the grocery store, and we curse the one who did it. After so many years of ‘oppression,’ it’s understandable that rioters destroy stores, police cars, public property, right? The bully who persecutes you month after month, slamming you into the lockers, making fun of your clothes every day, spreading rumors about you just so they can laugh with their clique.
It’s ok to wish for “justice” to happen to these people, isn’t it?
No, it’s just embracing evil.
The Lord asks us to trust Him. His justice, as He decides, is perfect and applies to all of us, even those who do us wrong. Our role, as Peter reminds us, is to bless those who persecute us. Turn the other cheek; pray for the relief of our oppressors; ask for God’s mercy on those who hurt us. That doesn’t demonstrate weakness. Deep inside, even those who are hurt confess that it demonstrates underlying superior strength. There has never been an unspeakable evil done by mankind that wasn’t out-done by even the simplest act of mercy. After all, so many decades later, what matters more: the horrible inhumanity of Auschwitz or the faith of those who relied on God to survive it?
Reject evil. Repay injustice with mercy. Give forgiveness where you don’t have to. Yes, don’t forget and, yes, trust God to administer His justice through our legal systems and through His working in the world. But resist evil with good and overcome the devil with Jesus. Don’t be the Godfather. Reject revenge.
For further reading: Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, Hebrews 6:14, Peter 3:10
Lord Jesus, help me to overcome evil by trusting only You.