Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Under God

I realized something today. And, my slight epiphany came through the most unlikely of things - a TV show. I don't know how many people watch Flashpoint - I feel like its one of those shows that flies under the radar but is surprisingly really good. Its some cross between Criminal Minds and CSI, but better... its not just the typical "there's a crime, and we'll solve it." The storyline for every episode is always really epic and gets right to your heart!

Tonight's episode started with a parole hearing for a black man that was convicted of murder at 15 for shooting/robbing a convenience store owner. The victims daughter and wife appear at every parole hearing Antone (the man convicted) has, in order to make sure he never makes parole. And hate, especially from the daughter, is palpable. But you get the feeling that Antone is sincere and feels truly guilty for his crime.

To make a long story really short (actually, I probably won't be able to make this concise..) - Antone's prison houses many rival gang members. One gang stages a riot in order to take out all the rival gang's leaders, but the daughter and wife (civilians) are trapped in the midst of it. Antone  takes it upon himself to protect the civilians, but in order to do so he has to pretend he is working with the gang leaders. His cover ends up getting blown as he is caught helping the cops, and he has to make a huge choice.

The crime he was convicted for in his teens was not a cold-blooded act. He was a scared 15 year old boy asked to prove his loyalty to a gang he didn't want to be a part of but felt like he had no other option. He didn't mean to shoot the man, he just wanted the money as proof. But the man grabbed the front of the gun and it was accidentally fired. Antone, at the age of 15, felt so terrible that he sat with the man so he didn't have to die alone. Antone, at the time of the riot, had spent 15 years in prison for this.

So, back to the riot... Antone is told that in order to prove his loyalty to the prison gang leaders and not be killed, he has to kill the civilians. Its a similar situation to what he had to face when he was 15. Will he make the same wrong choice?

And this is where my epiphany comes in. I am so rooting for this guy. I am so moved by his story, and the fact that he is trying to overcome his past, that he is trying to redeem his life. I am on the edge of my seat - I mean, I might as well have pompoms and do a cheer because I am really rooting for him! I just...feel so much compassion for him, and those like him! And this is totally a theme in my life - rooting for the underdog (I know, I know...insert Leaf joke here), caring for the beat up and beaten down, and even those that have made bad choices themselves, but have the potential to rise above it all yet. It just - gets my heart like nothing else. And I know this is a God thing - because nobody cares for the underdog, the beat up and beaten down, and the forgotten like God does. That's His target market... that's where His heart is. And I know, with crystal clarity, that God has been shaping my heart to care for the same.

The thing is, by the world's standards, I am an 'underdog' too. I am not particularly good at any one thing, and I have certainly made a number of bad choices. The one thing I do have though... the one thing that I know God can work with, and is indeed only possible because of God -  is my compulsion, my conviction to root for the underdog. God has given me a compassionate heart, and I know that He can, and will, and is, using that as His means to work through me. Because you don't need to be the smartest, or the best  at _____ or the ____ -est for God to use you and have incredible plans for you. You don't really need anything, but a willing heart. A heart that is willing to be shaped by the King. And actually, even if you don't have that... God will make a way for you.You can ask God to give you a willing heart.

As I have been writing this.. every time I typed "underdog",  I accidentally typed "undergod" and I kinda like that. We are not underdogs... we are under God... hmmmm.

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