Theology of ‘Lost’: Enemies

I wish more of my friends watched “Lost” for a number of reasons.

For one thing, I’d feel like less of a nerd for talking about all the crazy things that happen on the show (“No, no, John Locke is dead, and the other Locke is really some guy who’s impersonating Locke. Sheesh.”).

And second and more importantly, this post would make a lot more sense to someone who’s a fan.

On last night’s episode, we learned that the alternate-world Kate drives Claire to the hospital as she’s going into labor. And her doctor turns out to be … Ethan, the Other who kidnapped her for her baby in the show’s first season.

Only Ethan’s no longer a bad guy. He doesn’t kidnap pregnant women or try to kill people in the jungle. Presumably, this was made possible when Juliet detonated the hydrogen bomb as part of Jack’s plan to fix things and rescue the people they’d lost.

In the alternate world, the main characters get a second chance.

And so do their enemies.

Last night, “Lost” preached the Gospel (even if this wasn’t the producers’ intention).

Second chances aren’t just for us. They’re for our enemies.

For the people we hate.

For the people we haven’t forgiven refuse to forgive.

For the people who want to see us dead.

For the people who despise us because we hold to certain political or religious beliefs.

Jesus loves our enemies. He died and rose again so they could be blessed as we are.

The kingdom of God is so inclusive that it’s uncomfortable.

It’s not a refuge from “those people.” It’s where me and “those people” come together to be united and learn how to love each other.

Because they, like me, need to be forgiven. To be accepted and loved.

And anything less than that from me is more than just my being stubborn. It’s scorning the Good News that I claim to believe.

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We all start somewhere.

I used to fall for the idea that there is such a thing as super Christians and regular ones.

Super Christians here would be Paul, Peter, Daniel, or anyone else you can think of from a Bible story. Regular Christians, that would be me, the guy who kind of gets it but not as much as other people get it, and instead of being encouraged, I’m discouraged because their faith is a reminder of how little I trust God.

Them: “I’ll give half my paycheck to the church!”

Me: “But … I was going to eat out after church …”

You get the idea.

It’s been a while since I’ve thought in precisely those terms, but I am still discouraged from time to time by my lack of progress. Shouldn’t I look more like Christ by now? How come my struggles in 2010 are the same ones from 2000?

If I’m growing as a Christian, it seems like it’s by inches.

But the good news is, that’s how it happens for everyone.

In Romans 4, Paul writes about the faith of Abraham:

“No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God …”

This man of faith grew in his faith, which meant that he started in a place where his faith wasn’t strong at all. He grew strong in his faith, which meant he crawled before he walked.

We don’t know a whole lot about Abraham’s past before God speaks to him in Genesis 12. But the calling of God was the beginning of a story for Abram, and he spends years learning how to live the calling. Long, painful years. His strong faith didn’t come naturally. It grew. It had to be nourished.

When he stays in a foreign land, Abram puts his wife in danger (by claiming she’s his sister and hence, ripe for the taking by other men) instead of trusting God. The Lord has to step in and intercede before something happens to her, and you’d think that Abram would have learned his lesson. He did … until he did the same thing later in life, that is.

Abraham wasn’t some super follower of God. He had to learn how to be faithful, and that gives me hope because it means that my experience is everyone else’s experience, too. Do I fall short? Oh, yes. But doesn’t everyone?

Maybe instead of being discouraged by my lack of faith when compared to someone else’s abundance of it, I should instead remember that Jesus accepted both of us.

We’re all broken people who are learning to live the Calling, who are being taught how to leave our old selves in the desert as we walk (or stumble) closer to the Promised Land.

Nobody’s perfect on this journey. But we all are on the way.