On Father’s Day the fam and I saw the movie “Wonder Woman”. This writing is an ending spoiler so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you may want to read this encouragement at another time.
This depiction of Wonder Woman was new to me. Although I knew the basics of her superhero status, I was not aware of her origins as a daughter of Zeus and an Amazon woman. Her idyllic childhood on a perfect island away from mankind protected her innocence until she became a young adult. She then travelled a great distance to the front lines of battle in WWI to destroy evil. Although in her understanding she thought she was to destroy Aries, the god of war, in fact, she learned that even destroying the source of evil does not remove it for mankind’s choices are what keeps evil alive.
I do not intend to go deeply into religious parallels and discussion for volumes could be written, and there are many who would have trouble hearing me since the topic of Wonder Woman herself can be an emotionally charged one. Yes, the movie has Greek mythological gods and feminism is a major theme. But what we can see in this story is so much greater . . .
Toward the end of the movie, when Wonder Woman is in the throes of battle with seemingly inconquerable Aries, she rises in the air above him, hovers, and then descends with her arms out in crucifixion form. Yes, both my sister and I were in tears. For in this scene, Aries has again and again shown her the ugliness of mankind. He has tempted her to join him and leave these miserable creations to their own self destruction. And he seems to be so much more powerful.
At the peak of her struggle with Aries, she sees the explosion of the plane her love interest was piloting on a suicide mission to destroy all the poisonous gas that would have killed so many. She is filled with the overwhelming power of sacrificial love. As the power of love for others who don’t deserve love grows, the power of Aries is diminished, his strong armor is stripped off, and he is vanquished. Wonder Woman, in an act of loving the most undeserved, even spares the life of the creator of the poisonous gas as she is able to see the inventor’s weakness and human fragility. She gives up her life in paradise to instead serve mankind and fight evil.
It can be no accident that Yeshua’s sacrificial love of mankind had to be part of the writer/director/producer’s inspiration, if not consciously, then clearly subconsciously, and clearly from HaShem. The crucifix symbolism was unmistakable. Can’t you just imagine the director coaching Israeli born (Jewish) actress Gal Godot, “Now pose as if you were Jesus on the cross.” The script of the dialogue between the forces of evil (Aries) and good (Wonder Woman) could have come straight from a sermon on Yeshua’s love of undeserving mankind. For it is not in the churches and synagogues that all will be reached. It is in the subtle suggestions, the secular movies, our workplaces, our grocery stores, our gatherings, that His message of unconditional love will be able to be heard. For my sister and me the powerful closing scenes were a poignant reminder. For some who do not know Him, the film may spark a childhood memory of Him, of a time, perhaps, when Yeshua’s love was innocently understood. For all, the message is at a minimum, redemptive, a starting point for drawing closer to Him.
Praise Him that He opens our eyes to see Him at work, even in mainstream movies. Praise the days we live in where His presence pervades all.
I wanted to tell you, before I forget, how much I appreciated your analysis of Wonder Woman. The movie was not on my radar, but we happened to have Michael’s sister and her husband in town right after it opened and a day after we got this email from you. Your email piqued my curiosity so when everyone decided they wanted to go see Wonder Woman during a prolonged afternoon thunderstorm, I found myself intrigued and decided to go with them.
Wow. Just wow. I am not one of those legalistic types who believes a movie or book has to hold tightly to Biblical accounts. I am always disheartened by the legalistic overtones the church sometimes uses when it comes to trying to discredit movies and books that put out spiritual truths, which are universally true inasmuch as the laws of nature.
For example, I loved “The Shack,” and I can tell you that as a little girl who never had a daddy to love me, and stepdads that cheated on or abused my mother, that movie had me bawling my heart out, and in the end, reached a place inside that allowed God to pour in a little bit of healing balm. But the evangelical church attacked “The Shack” saying that God would never present Himself as a woman, etc., etc. Well, I, for one, understood all too well why God had to present Himself as a woman to Mack. The church sometimes baffles me. To think, those same critics love C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia,” which is full of anthropomorphic animals, most notably Aslan, the lion that portrayed Yeshua and His sacrificial and redeeming love by dying in place of his friends, and Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments.” Neither of these well-known works are perfect in holding to Biblical accounts or tenets, but are certainly close enough to allow God to talk to people’s hearts. And so, too, is “Wonder Woman”… and “The Shack.”
Needless to say, I too loved Wonder Woman, and God used it to deal deeply with me! I waited with great anticipation for the ending you had described in your email. The ending blew away my expectation, though. Wow, did it ever uncover some healing work I need to do with the Ruach HaKodesh! I found Ares’s argument compelling. I was right there with him: “Yeah, these humans kill, maim and murder each other. Why should they live when they hurt others so deeply and sometimes irrevocably?! Get rid of the evil ones, and our problem is solved! Yeah! Yeah!” Then… oh my gosh… Wonder Woman completely does EXACTLY what Yeshua did, what He taught us to do! The truth is, none of us deserve to live… none deserve God’s grace. ALL of us are sinners and fall short of God’s glory.
Yeshua taught that we cannot know who will ultimately find themselves worthy of God’s grace and who will not, no matter how bad they are:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
And King Solomon poetically taught,
“There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness,
And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.
Do not be overly righteous,
Nor be overly wise:
Why should you destroy yourself?
Do not be overly wicked,
Nor be foolish:
Why should you die before your time?
It is good that you grasp this,
And also not remove your hand from the other;
For he who fears God will escape them all.
Wisdom strengthens the wise
More than ten rulers of the city.
For there is not a just man on earth who does good
And does not sin.”
And all of what King David said in Psalm 73.
And, then Peter reiterates one of God’s more powerful truths,
“The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
But, finally, the most important lesson of all for me, the one that indicated to me that I was definitely in need of some ministry and healing from the Ruach HaKodesh… the one Wonder Woman held to in her refusal to kill Dr. Maru, a.k.a., Dr. Poison, and the rest of mankind:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
“Oh, yeah…,” those two passages of Scripture (2 Peter 3 and Matthew 5) ran through my mind as Wonder Woman came to her senses and found mercy for Dr. Maru, as despicable and evil as she was.
I have actually come to believe that wicked people typically, not always, live longer lives as God, in His mercy, extends time and grace for their repentance.
At the end of the movie I was disturbed by the fact that I could see Ares’s point of view, because I had agreed with him even though I knew I shouldn’t as a matter of God’s grace, righteousness and merciful justice.
The good news is that, as always, He is merciful and has been working with me. He ministered to me all day yesterday. His presence and overwhelming love was palpable in my spirit, and I know you know exactly what I mean. He was pouring it on!!
I wanted to take the time to thank you for sending your emails, especially this one. I don’t get to read all of them, but the ones I do read are always a wonderful exhortation at the most needed moments. He kind’a works in ways like that, huh?
In His Love,