Sin is a kind of madness. There is famous list which list categories of it. There are seven: lust, greed, sloth, gluttony, wrath, envy, and greed.
The movies are a good place to find examples of these sins. In my last post I mentioned two classic flicks.
One is “Panic Room”, in which three hoods are motivated by greed to invade a home. Of course, the woman and child threatened by them would not have had to fend for themselves if the couple had not divorced. This was probably motivated by wrath. In a scene in which the young daughter has been captured by the thieves, she tells one of them when he asks if her parents are rich,”My Dad is rich. My Mom is just mad.” Divorce comes from wrath.
The other film is “Fury” (1936). In this flick, Spencer Tracy is so mad at almost dying at the hands of a mob who falsely accuses him of kidnapping that he allows the world to think he is dead so that they will be punished for his murder. Bitterness comes from wrath.
In a film I have seen since these two,”The Crossing Guard”, Freddy (Jack Nicholson) is a man who is both bitter and angry at the death of his young daughter Emily five years before. She was killed by a drunk driver.
Her death has sent Freddy into a spiral of drunkenness and whoring. His wrath has led to gluttony and lust. Freddy’s wife divorced this beaten man and remarried.
In a scene in which he visits their home, Freddy discusses a family photo with the new husband, telling him what a wonderful family he has. Then his former wife and his kids appear. The kids call Freddy by his name and the new husband “Dad”. This elicits a wry comment about this to his ex-wife. In a subsequent argument with her, Freddy screams that the house they live in should be his. Wrath also produces envy.
The real target of Freddy’s anger is John Booth, the drunken driver who killed his daughter. John has just been released from prison. After bungling one attempt to murder him, Freddy tells John that he’ll come back in three days to finish the job.
In a dramatic scene at the end of “The Crossing Guard”, Freddy chases John into a cemetery at night after grazing him with a gunshot. John arrives at Emily’s grave, a place he had visited a couple days before. Freddy has been so grieved that he has not even attend Emily’s funeral, much less visited the grave site.
Kneeling next to the grave, John whispers “your Dad is coming..he needs you.” Freddy kneels next to John and begins to weeps. He gives John his gun and grabs his hand. Together they kneel by Emily’s grave, holding hands as the sun rises.
What is the antidote to sin? Jesus has provided it. It’s called reconciliation. He reconciled us to God by paying the price for our sins.
God has His own wrath, a pure kind that cannot stand the sight of sin. Spencer Tracy knew there had to be a price for his human wrath in “Fury”. “Maybe someday after I’ve paid for what I did…”, he tells the judge when he surprises everyone by appearing in court,”,..there’ll be a chance to begin again.”
This desire for reconciliation is the first step to dealing with the deadly sins mentioned above. Once we accept the reconciliation offered by the work of Christ, we can begin the process of dealing with the hostility in our hearts toward our fellow man.
In “The Last Blitzkrieg”, Hans Von Horner is a German Nazi soldier disguised as an American. He goes by the name Leonard Richardson.
Von Horner and other German comrades infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge dressed as American soldiers. (This actually happened during this battle.) Their mission is to wreak havoc, chaos and death. They succeed.
One of Von Horner’s subordinates is a former SS soldier who is a fanatical Nazi. He relishes the death and destruction of his enemies and doesn’t care about the rules of war. He even attempts to molest a nice French woman who offers shelter to Van Horner’s crew.
Von Horner originally posed as an American when he was in a POW camp. He helped to plan an escape and told his superior officer about it. Von Horner is squeamish when he thinks perhaps the Americans will be slaughtered, but his commander promises him they won’t. They will just be punished for trying to escape.
Later, in the American lines, Von Horner runs into two of the former American POWs who made it out of the camp. He learns the rest were killed.
In the end, Von Horner and is German colleagues are found out. The rest are killed but he is only wounded.
During a firefight Von Horner sees Americans captured by German soldiers. He grabs a gun off of dead American, obviously to help his fellows.
However, when he sees the Germans massacre the Americans in cold blood, he opens up on them with his gun. This helps the Americans win the skirmish and capture some of the remaining Nazis, but he is fatally wounded.
Before he dies, he tells the captured Germans,”We have been doing the work of the devil. Go home, and quit saying ‘heil’.”
This is good advice for me. I have to renew my relationship with God and quit doing the work of the devil. Only then will I have a chance to get rid of my own deadly sins and reconcile with others.