From wikipedia – Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 biographical war drama film directed by Mel Gibson and written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan, based on the 2004 documentary The Conscientious Objector.
The film focuses on the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss, an American pacifist combat medic who, as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refused to carry or use a weapon or firearm of any kind.
Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. (the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration to be given to US military personnel for acts of valour and heroism.
Doss was given the award because he single-handedly rescued 75 injured US troops of the battlefield of Okinawa. His faith and moral courage inspired him to do this.
This movie is rated 15 in the UK.
The lessons we can learn from Hacksaw Ridge
The movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is about a man who has a faith in God who is misunderstood by the people around him. But he keeps his beliefs and they inspire him to act to help others. He ends up rescuing many people and as a result they are saved, are given life and end up respecting him for his courage and his faith.
This is a picture of what the church should be like!!
- We have and hold on to our faith in God.
- Our faith inspires us to action.
- Even when people don’t understand us or are hateful, we keep on being true to God and doing acts of love.
- God will use us to rescue, help and inspire others.
- They will come to know who God is. Many will be changed.
This is about “Offering people a hoping hand” – as well as a helping hand!
Direct Link – https://youtu.be/s2-1hz1juBI
In the world but not of the world
John 17.15-18 has the words of Jesus who said in a prayer to his Father in heaven: “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.”
It can sometimes be tough being a Christian in a world where many people seem to reject God or who don’t like what Christians have to say. But at the same time, there are so many hurting, lonely, helpless and lost people who need Christians to be there for them and show them God’s love.
In the movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ we find that Private Doss has lots of hassle because he doesn’t want to carry an gun and kill people. He believes that his role is to save life and not take life. Whatever we believe about this, he chooses to put his principles into practice and not back down – but to step up and let his faith turn into positive action.
This is the kind of thing Jesus wants us to do. He says to us ‘listen, I know you don’t think and act like the world around you – but that’s why I need you to get out there and be light in the darkness!’
For Private Doss, his actions were inspired by his faith and they stood out because of his courage and because his faith made him different. For us, the greatest strength and difference we have is our faith in God and his power that works in us and through us to others. So don’t be afraid to get out there, do good and bring the good news of Jesus.
Put it back together
At one point in the movie, Private Doss says this:
“With the world so set on tearing itself apart, doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.”
Does this sound like the world around us? A world set on tearing itself apart? It does sound kind of familiar! It’s a question that has been asked for hundreds of years but seems to be getting even worse over time. Psalm 2.1 sees the writer asking the question, “Why do the nations conspire (rage) and the nations plot in vain…”
On TV, there are lots of programmes like ‘Garden Rescue’ or ‘The Repair Shop’ or ‘DIY SOS’. All of these are programmes where people turn something that is broken into something that is restored or made new. They are uplifting because they give people hope and turn bad to good.
As Christians we should be like walking and talking versions of these programmes – bringing hope where there is despair; bringing light where there is darkness; bringing truth where there are lies; bringing life where there is death (not just actual death but when people feel like they’re dying on the inside and unhappy).
Jesus came to bring new life to anyone and everyone who would ask him to. When people say yes to Jesus being in charge of their life, he makes their spirit completely new and then goes to work on turning bad to good in a person’s life. One day Jesus will return to the earth and he will restore everything to a perfect state. So Jesus is all about restoration and turning things back around to how they should be – which in a world tearing itself apart is a good thing!
So our mission is to put things back together – with God’s help. Just take a minute to think if there’s anywhere or anything that you could help to ‘turn around’ for good? In our city, there is a thing called ‘JoyFest’ where Christians go around doing amazing acts of kindness creatively for a week. Or my small group at church helped a lady with her garden. You should have loads more ideas so get thinking and then get doing…
“One More Lord… One More…”
When Private Doss was rescuing troops (in reality he did this over 3 weeks), he repeatedly kept on praying to God to help him rescue ‘one more’ and then ‘one more’ wounded soldier. So basically he wanted to rescue as many soldiers as he possibly could. What an amazing act of courage time after time!
Jesus said this in Matthew 18.12-14: Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.The Message
Then in 2 Peter 3.8-9 – God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.The Message
Jesus wants everyone to be connected back to him. He doesn’t want anyone to be ‘lost’. By ‘lost’ he means he doesn’t want anyone to reject him and mess their lives up now and for eternity. He doesn’t want people to go to hell – a place that is terrible beyond description. He does want people to be with him in heaven – a place incredible beyond description!
Jesus is always looking for ‘the one’. God is always chasing after the ‘one’. There is a parable (a made up story with a meaning) that Jesus told about a lost sheep. The shepherd left the 99 who were safe and went after the one lost sheep to help them and bring them back to the safety of the shepherd’s ‘pen’. That is God’s heart.
In the song ‘Reckless Love’ the chorus says:
O the overwhelming never-ending reckless love of God
O it chases me down fights til I’m found leaves the ninety – nine
I couldn’t earn it, I don’ deserve it still you give yourself away
O the overwhelming, never – ending reckless love of God
(By the way don’t get caught up on the word ‘reckless’ like some people have – it just means the incredible, crazy and dramatic love of God that goes beyond our understanding or words).
God invites us to go and find and help ‘the one’. Are you up for doing that? Just tell God and ask him to show you what to do and who to help!
Questions and Prayer
At the start of the session we gave 5 points about what the church should be like. We’ve also looked at 3 more points that we can learn from Hacksaw Ridge.
- Are there things that God has spoken to you for you to do?
- Is there anyone or any situation you feel called to take action about?
- Can you pray simply for God to be with and change the circumstances for these people or situations?
- Can you and others do something practically to help?
- Pray for each other and the church to stay strong, to hold onto God’s love and truth and pray that others would know this love too.
“Offer People A Hoping and Helping Hand”