Wanted: Assassins for Jesus?

Posted: September 11, 2012 by John C. Kwasny, Ph.D. in Action, Thriller
Tags: , , , ,

I was never interested in seeing the 2008 Angelina Jolie film, Wanted.  After all, haven’t we all seen just about enough of the gun-toting, ultra hard-nosed, kill-you-with-one-look Ms. Jolie?  And, as much as I love action movies, the over-the-top violence just didn’t interest me at the time.  But, thanks to a little free time and the FX channel, I hesitantly took the chance to watch the (somewhat) edited version on TV (and I would definitely only recommend the edited version!).  And, I must admit, I have become a James McAvoy fan recently, and of course a little Morgan Freeman helps me put up with too much Angelina.

Wanted is definitely violent and extremely unbelievable.  It is rated R for good reason, with plenty of bloodshed, even in the TV version.  It is actually more akin to a comic book movie than a pure action flick.  To summarize the plot, I’ll use the IMDB description:   A frustrated office worker (McAvoy) learns that he is the son of a professional assassin, and that he shares his father’s superhuman killing abilities.  More specifically, McAvoy’s father is a former member of a super secret society of assassins (even cooler) which is run by Freeman and his #1 killer, Jolie.  The plot also involves a couple of good surprise twists, so I won’t spoil it for you if you are interested in some gruesome violence one evening.

So how does this film portray some sort of Biblical truth for us?  Well, like many war-like and military-style movies, Wanted should make us think of the reality that we are all soldiers in the army of the Lord.  For example, in Philippians 2:25, the Apostle Paul calls Epaphroditus his “brother and fellow worker and fellow SOLDIER.”  When we are adopted by God into His family, we are also enlisted into the army of the Kingdom of Light.  But the truth is often that we would rather be just a son or daughter of the King than a warrior in His crusade against evil and darkness.

In Wanted, McAvoy is a purposeless, anxiety-riddle, wimp of a young man.  His best friend steals his girlfriend, his female boss manhandles him, and his life is going utterly nowhere.  McAvoy is the dictionary definition of the neutered male who is always apologizing rather than being assertive.  That is, until he is “adopted” into a “family” of extremely lethal killers!  He is shown how the weakness he thought he had was really great strength.  For the first time, he uses the superhuman abilities given to him by his father.  He begins to see himself as something different than just an average loser in this world.  He becomes part of a greater purpose that comes with a high calling.

One part of the storyline that really stood out to me was how McAvoy was trained to live up to his “giftedness” of assassinating people.  Members of the team, using their own special skills, literally beat him senseless with fists, knives, and other horrible techniques.  He was forced to do the most extreme and violent tasks.  He was abused, humiliated, and beaten down by his own people.  Yet, at the same time, he was also encouraged and “healed” from his wounds–just so he could be toughened up again.  And, it wasn’t until he fully embraced his position as the rightful heir of his father’s abilities that he truly began to shine as a warrior assassin.

So what’s the application for Christians?  Certainly, the idea of being an assassin for Jesus is ludicrous.  After all, an assassin is a murderer–someone who takes out a political figure to manipulate the balance of power.  (Trivia time: The original use of the word was for a secret sect of Muslims who murdered high profile Christians during the Crusades.)  Obviously, Christians are not called to “take out” evil people for the Lord–we’re called to show them the love of Jesus!  So then, how exactly are we soldiers of Christ in this world?  Well, maybe our call is to “assassinate” ideas, lies, and philosophies that are keeping people captive.  The bullets in our “guns” are love, joy, peace, patience, kindess…that by the work of the Spirit pierce through the hearts of men.  And, let’s not forget the fact that there ARE real enemies out there–Satan, sin, and the ways of this world–even if we can’t see them in our sniper’s scope.  The Enemy has been defeated, yet we are still in an ongoing war.

Even if you aren’t buying all my parallelism here, I still think Christians have things to learn from this mythical secret society of assassins.  We often forget the amazing strength we have been given by our Father.  We are often unwilling to be trained by other believers in the ways of spiritual warfare.  We are often more cowardly than courageous in the army of the LORD (if we even recognize that we are in a war).  Many of us are more than willing to live purposeless lives rather than be equipped and used by the LORD in His violent Kingdom work.  And, we don’t really want to be involved in “iron sharpening iron.”  The list goes on…

McAvoy’s character became “Wanted” as a professional assassin.  As Christians, shouldn’t we be “Wanted” by Satan too?  In other words, by the power of the grace of God, aren’t we called to be most dangerous to Satan’s schemes–whereby he lives to eliminate us?  Is that too extreme?  Then I ask you: Are you really a soldier of the Cross?

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