My wife and I enjoy occasional openings in our respective schedules that allow us time to hit the DVR or On-Demand button on the remote and watch a TV show or two. Among our current favorites are Castle, Hawaii Five-0, Parenthood, and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. We also enjoy watching a movie every now and then.
Generally, the shows mostly serve to pass time and entertain. Sometimes, they sneak up on us and bring home a truth that affirms the most basic of tenets in the Christian faith – forgiveness and redemption.
Take, for example, a recent episode of Hawaii Five-0. I’m old enough to remember the original show that featured Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett and his famous line, “Book ’em, Dan-O.” My Granddad Johnson loved that show. They had been to Hawaii in 1968 and really enjoyed their time there. So, when this new version of Five-0 came around, I was drawn to it in some ways because I still miss Granddad even though he’s been gone since 1980.
But, back to the story and the redemption factor. Watching Steve McGarrett’s mother and sister re-unite after years of estrangement toward the end of the show was somewhat predictable, but moving nonetheless. But what set that scene up was an elderly gentleman for whom the sister was a caregiver. His story of separation from his daughter, set up by his disapproval of the man she married, lasted for years without contact. When his daughter died in an auto accident, he never had the chance to reconcile with her and his days were filled with regret.
The old man said “You get a second chance. Some people would give anything for another chance… Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I’d have picked up the phone and called her… Don’t make the same mistake. Put away your anger. Go see your mother. You only have one family.”
Feel free to disagree, but I think the spirit of God was at work in that scriptwriter’s heart when those words were written. I believe God is always reaching to us to redeem the brokenness in our lives. It’s our stubbornness that so often keeps us separated from the freedom that redemption brings, whether for ourselves or for someone else.
Family relationships can get complicated. Friendships can get messy. Dealing with co-workers can frustrate. But, have you ever really regretted letting go of resentment and hostility? We may not want to admit it, but letting go of things that keep us bound is so liberating, even when the other person doesn’t deserve our forgiveness.
The story of God, over and over again, is about reconciliation and redemption. I want to be more like God from here on out. It’s kinda cool that an over-the-top cop show could remind me of this.