On Sunday evening at Colchester Baptist Church we will be having another of our film nights. This time we will be watching ‘Invictus’, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The film is based around the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, but it is as much about rugby as ‘Gone With The Wind’ is about the American Civil War. Rugby is the context for the film.
In preparation for the film night I watched the film earlier this week and was inspired. The blurb on the box talks about the power of sport to unite a nation. Actually I think that does the film a serious disservice. It is about the power of grace and forgiveness to unite a nation.
In the film Nelson Mandela says, “Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”
For me that is a spine-tingling moment. The events depicted in the film are right at the start of Nelson Mandela’s time as President of South Africa. There is the potential for the country to tear itself apart. There is fear from the black South Africans of their former oppressors and fear from the white South Africans of revenge from those they oppressed.
“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”
Forgiveness liberates the soul of the forgiver and the forgiven one. It is not only a powerful weapon, it is a reflection of the nature of God. He is the Forgiver. He is the Liberator of Souls. He is the Fear-remover. He is the Gracious One.
I have heard people quote the Bible: ‘”Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord.’ And what they mean is that God is on their side and he will sort out those who have wronged them. But to me what it means is that God owns vengeance and he keeps it locked away. He offers grace in its place.
Do not fear that God is out to get you, or that he wants revenge for your badness, or that he is angry with you. Instead be afraid that you will miss out on all that he has to offer you – forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, fresh starts and life in all its fullness.
Be blessed, be a blessing