Changing Lanes (15)
This movie is about 2 men from different walks of life who have an accident on a freeway in New York. Due to this, one man misses an appointment with his estranged wife, the other loses an important document. Both men are unable to sort their differences due to their circumstances. Gradually, recriminations grow and each takes increasingly desperate action to try to force the other to ‘pay’ for their actions.
This movie is an excellent one for looking at revenge and how it doesn’t pay. The movie ends with positive action, saying sorry and with both men taking steps to effect positive changes in their lives. For this you can look at Matthew 5.43- 48 about loving all people and not fighting back. You can also look at Matthew 18.15-35 about dealing with people sinning against you, what your reaction should be – and forgiveness. Any clips from the movie need editing from swearing.
The other main clip I found is about three-quarters of the way through the movie where Gavin (one of the main characters who’s a lawyer) is talking with his boss, who has very few scruples about anything. Gavin questions his boss about how he justifies his immoral actions. Gavin’s boss replies, ‘Because I think I do more good than harm. What other standard have I got?’
This reaction is so like the reaction of the world. It says these things:
1. I am my own judge and jury. I have own right and wrong
2. Therefore and because of this, there is no God
3. I do more good things than bad things. Therefore that’s OK
4. It raises the issue that many young people tell me – ‘I know X who’s not a Christian and they do more good stuff and are a better person than Y who’s a Christian. How come you say Y will go to heaven and X won’t.’
What is the Biblical prospective to this?
1. God has appointed Jesus to judge the people and the nations in the end times. (John 5.22 and 27). Until that time, Jesus comes as a giver of life, not as a maker of judgment (John 12.47). However, the judge will be the Word of God (John 12.48). It is against this standard we must judge ourselves, as a mirror reflecting our spiritual lives. This is a living, active process (Hebrews 4.12). We also have the Holy Spirit in us to guide us in what is right and Godly (John 16.8-15)
2. There is a God. We know through many ways. (Creation – through God’s Word – through the Holy Spirit’s work – through answered prayer – through the Spirit transforming lives and cities and nations). However, in the end days and through time, people will reject this (see 2 Timothy 4.1-5 and Romans 1). People even rejected Jesus in person.
3. There is only one way to God. Jesus. The Bible is clear. (John 14.6). To be in God’s kingdom in this world and the next, we can only come through Jesus and his blood. Our names will be written in the Lamb’s (Jesus’) book of life (Revelation 21.27). Doing good is not enough. As we see in Romans 3, no-one is good enough to deserve getting into God’s Kingdom.
Firstly, God makes people right with himself through Jesus (Romans 3.22). Second, Romans 3.23 says all have sinned (done wrong) and fallen short of God’s standards. Third, all people need Jesus to get right with God. This is a free gift from God that we must receive and accept the conditions for (saying we’re sorry, turning from wrong, asking Jesus to be lord over our lives). Fourth, the Bible re-affirms that getting right with God only comes through the blood of Jesus (verse 24). Fifth, God did this so he could be seen to judge rightly. God says – these are the conditions that must be fulfilled. The life of faith can be complex but we have to accept Jesus. You couldn’t get into a millionaire’s club if you aren’t a millionaire. That’s the condition of membership. So God’s kingdom has its rules that must be followed.
Interestingly, although we can’t get into God’s kingdom by good works, being a Christian is expressed through good works. As God’s Spirit works in the hearts of believers, they change and become world-changers.
4. God is a righteous and just judge (see Psalm 96). There are some questions we don’t have answers for. In some cases, where for example people haven’t heard the Gospel, I believe God will judge fairly.