Forgiveness: The Desire for Revenge

Revenge movies used to be a small genre. Now every major Hollywood star has their own revenge movie and every plot is driven by revenge. Even Disney movies now feature plots with revenge at their core! Consider the recent movie Maleficent featuring Angelina Jolie. It is scary how much our country and Hollywood has grown to delight in vengeance and revenge.

No wonder we struggle with forgiveness!

How can we forgive, when we are so obsessed with revenge? We routinely watch it for escapist entertainment and then we wonder why it’s so hard to forgive. As a society, it seems we’ve never felt so entitled and comfortable with vengeance.

Don’t believe me? Consider these recent popular movies (picture below) and some of their tag lines:

Movies about vengeance and revenge probably sell more tickets at the box office now than movies about sex.
Movies about vengeance and revenge probably sell more tickets at the box office now than movies about sex.
  • Rage – “The past never stays dead.”
  • Drive Angry – “All hell breaks loose.”
  • The Other Woman – “The oddest friends are about to get even.”
  • Prisoners – “A gripping, smart revenge saga about child abduction.”
  • John Wick – “Don’t set him off.”
  • Django Unchained – “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of vengeance.”
  • Cold in July – “How many men can one bullet kill?”
  • Blue Ruin – “Revenge comes home.”
  • Gangster Squad – “No names. No badges. No mercy.”
  • Bullet to the Head – “Revenge never gets old.”
  • The Equalizer – “Odds against you? Call the Equalizer.”
  • Only God Forgives – “Time to meet the devil.”

How can we forgive others in a culture obsessed with revenge? If we don’t punish the bad guys who is going to punish them? What if somebody won’t admit that they’ve done anything wrong? How is it even remotely fair to forgive people who haven’t asked for forgiveness?

Join us this week at Life Matters as we begin a series on the issue of forgiveness. Come back tomorrow as we begin to answer the hard questions about forgiveness . . .

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