Recently, I watched the movie “Unbroken.” Earlier this year, I read the book. If you are not familiar with Unbroken, it tells the story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini and his World War II experience of being shot down over the Pacific Ocean and then picked up by the Japanese and brought to a POW camp. I would suggest reading it, preferably with a box of tissues by you.
In the POW camp, the prisoners were stripped of their dignity. In order to regain some sort of control, the POWs began stealing. These were men that would have frowned upon theft in their normal lives, but under brutal conditions, theft and sabotage was their rebellion against their captors. The inhumanity of their guards made the British and American prisoners grasp for any way to feel human again. I can’t say as I disagreed with them.
Satan runs the POW camp that is this world. Here, he binds and humiliates us. We’re so starved for our true humanity, which, because we are created in the image of God, can only be made complete when made a new creation in Christ.
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”
(St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions)
Unfortunately, it isn’t natural to turn to Jesus, and we decide to take control; we plop ourselves down on the throne. This idolatry finds its unholy soulmate in covetousness. (Colossians 3:5) From this twisted pair is birthed thievery, the natural outcome of a heart that believes it deserves all it desires.
This heart can never be satisfied with taking what doesn’t belong to it, but accepting what it can never earn.
The thefts by the POWs may have provided them temporary relief from their emotional and psychological torment, but it wouldn’t free them. It couldn’t free them.
Only a victory in the war could do that.
Our Victor can do that too. Break all the chains and let the prisoners go free.