Friday, January 18, 2008

ER: Atonement

I was watching ER last night. When I was surprised to see a conversation take place that doesn't often take place on national television.

You see, there was a 68 year old man who was dying. He had spent many years as a prison Doctor, giving lethal injections to the convicted. After injecting 17 men over many years, he retired...feeling guilty over what he had done. He came to the realization that man should not take life, but God should. He then began to atone for the deaths. He visited each family one by one trying to give them what he could to make up for the loss of life.

It brought him to a young boy and his mom. He had been responsible for the death of the husband/father. It resulted in saving the boy from falling into a lake...and that is why they were both in the ER.

Even though this man had tried to atone for all he had done with the families, he was still overwhelmed with guilt. A female chaplain was sent in to speak to him.

The conversation started with the man just retelling of his past. When he asked that he didn't know what God wanted him to do, her response was that it is up to each individual's interpretation of what God wanted them to do.

It quickly escalated into a heated discussion.

The man asked her how he can find forgiveness and that her new age religion was not helping. She kept saying that she just wanted to comfort him, to which his response was that he didn't want comfort, he wanted the truth. He wanted to real chaplain who believed in forgiveness and hell...because he needed to know and hear it.

He was screaming and very emotional about not wanting her help because she wasn't helping.

I wish I could find a clip of this to watch again...I know that there was more to it. It just really made me think about how we as Christians are afraid to offend people. I wouldn't even consider the woman chaplain to be a Christian, she is very universalist in her leanings on the show, but still, it is easy to see the similarities.

This man was hurting. He wanted to hear the truth...the truth that he was a sinner and that because of his sin, he deserved hell. He also needed to hear about Christ's atoning death on the cross. Instead, he got a hoity toity message that God is good and loving (which of course He is)...end of story. When what he was yearning to hear is that God is just and righteous. And what he needed to hear, only God can take away the weight of your sin.

I would hope that if we are ever in a similar situation, we would tell the truth of God's just anger at our sinfulness and the freedom from that sin that is found only in Christ Jesus.


Jim said...

I noticed this too. My 10 year old son was watching with me at the time. (We had to shut it off when the bath tub scene started) It lead to a discussion about how, if she had known "the truth", she could have ministered to him and told him that he can't find forgiveness in what he does, but on what Christ did. She dropped the ball. But like you asked, how often have we? I hope I would not have in that situation.

Qtpies7 said...

Wow, I did not see that episode! I don't watch tv very often, though.

Brandon Fogerty said...

Great post!

Here is a link to the clip you are referring to.

May GOD's grace and blessing be upon you!