I’ve watched the movie The Patriot several times. I wouldn’t consider this my favorite movie, but I do enjoy it. And, before you comment, yes, I know about the historical inaccuracies. I guess it is good that I enjoy watching it, since it seems to be showing every time I turn on the television. My most memorable viewing happened in Nicaragua, where we watched part of The Patriot in Spanish.
This weekend my son and I watched The Patriot again. This time, there was a certain speech that caught my attention. Gabriel walked into a church building and asked for volunteers for the South Carolina militia. Everyone complained about the danger involved in signing up with the militia. Then, Anne reminded them that they had been talking highly about liberty and freedom. This is part of what she said:
Anne: Mr. Hardwick, how many times have I heard you speak of freedom at my father’s table? Half the men in this church, including you, Father, and you, Reverend, are as ardent patriots as I. Will you now, when you are needed most, stop at only words? Is that the sort of men you are? I ask only that you act upon the beliefs of which you have so strongly spoken and in which you so strongly believe.
Now, I don’t want to discuss liberty or freedom, nor do I wish to discuss the ethics of war. However, I think that all believers should think very carefully about what Anne says in this speech.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we talk a good talk. We talk about God – his person and his attributes, etc. We talk about Jesus Christ – his divinity, his work, etc. We talk about the Holy Spirit – his work in soteriology, sanctification, gifting, etc. We talk about the church and eschatology. We talk about loving God and loving other people. We talk about justice and mercy and forgiveness and compassion.
But, do we do more than talk? When you ask the world outside of “Christianity”, we get a very different picture of believers than if you ask the church. Perhaps we can learn to talk less, and do more.
How many times recently have you had a discussion about loving the unlovable? How many times have you actually done something to demonstrate that you love the unlovable?
How many times recently have you talked about showing mercy and kindness to someone who is in need? How many times have you actually helped someone that was in need?
How many times recently have you professed the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ? How many times have you proclaimed that to your neighbors and friends?
How many times recently have you discussed the importance of making disciples? How much time have you actually spent discipling someone?
As Anne says in The Patriot, “I ask only that you act upon the beliefs of which you have so strongly spoken and in which you so strongly believe.”