When I was a kid there was a movie called, “Hook.” I loved this movie growing up because it was a fun adaptation of the great “Peter Pan” story. There’s a scene in the …
When I was a kid there was a movie called, “Hook.” I loved this movie growing up because it was a fun adaptation of the great “Peter Pan” story. There’s a scene in the movie that didn’t impact me much when I was a child, but as an adult, I find myself thinking about it, in our current cultural climate.
The scene goes like this: Peter, who has forgotten that he is the “Peter Pan” of Neverland (who has chosen to leave Neverland for Wendy’s daughter), is suddenly carried back by Tinkerbell to Neverland after Captain Hook steals his children.
When Peter gets there, he has a short interchange with Captain Hook, attempting to get his children back. Peter can’t fly up to save his children and is therefore about to walk the plank. However, after Tinkerbell gets involved, Peter is given three days by Captain Hook to get his life figured out and ready for a war with Hook. Peter gets back to the Lost Boys. While he has no idea he is meant to lead these boys, he finds that someone named Rufio has assumed leadership in his absence.
To make this “leadership” clear to all the Lost Boys, Rufio draws a line in the sand and essentially asks, “What side are you going to be on?” Everyone but one boy chooses to side with Rufio. It’s the young boy left on Peter’s side who finds himself against the crowd trying to convince them that Peter was really Peter. They argue back and forth and this ends rather anticlimactically, because later in the movie, when Peter remembers who he is and gains the power of flight, he draws another line in the sand and all the Lost Boys, including Rufio, join Peter. Great movie and a classic!
I’ve been thinking about this scene lately from this movie, because I can’t help but see a similar situation taking place in America today. Where lines are being drawn in the sand all around us and people are adamantly doing all they can to convince those on the other side to join their side. Arguments of great passion are taking place, and many have become so entrenched in opinion that we’ve begun to lose conversation with each other.
It’s almost as if we’ve become a “us versus them” society. This is even happening within the church and from the church toward the world. Lines have been drawn, arguments are being waged, causing division to further distance the church’s ability to reach out to the world around it. Love is growing cold in these days. I wonder how much this breaks the heart of God to see his creation and or bride get so divided by fighting for the lines they’ve drawn in the sand.
It’s no secret it’s election season, mixed with a pandemic, and add some wildfires and murder bees and we get an interesting year to be living in. But unfortunately, instead of trying to come together and work on what will better our lives through these experiences, many have continued to draw lines in the sand and say, “You are either with me or against me,” making the division even greater.
Now let me make it abundantly clear there is a line that is drawn: God drew it, and only he has the authority to draw such a line. It’s the line that separates heaven and hell. The Bible calls it the great chasm and it’s there to keep hell out of heaven. Only God can do this. Again, let’s make that clear.
But church and world, if you’re listening: Why are we trying to draw lines that we are not given permission, nor do we have the authority to draw?
You see, I’m reminded of Matthew 11:28-30, when Jesus says, “Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
What I love about my savior is that he never drew a line on humanity. All are invited into the presence of Jesus — it’s up to us to take it.
You also probably all know John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the WORLD through him.”
The word to focus on for this perspective is, “whoever.” This says to me that Jesus doesn’t know human lines. He’s for humanity. He wants us to win by choosing him. He didn’t draw political dividing lines; we did. He didn’t draw social lines; we did. He didn’t draw lines dividing race; we did.
We draw the lines.
The point is, Jesus came to bring his love to the whole of humanity — to give all humanity a chance to know a LOVE that far outweighs this world’s love. He did NOT pick and choose who he was going to give his love to. It’s us who have fooled ourselves into thinking that we have a right to draw a line and decide who I’ll be Jesus to. But we can’t.
So all those who are listening, I challenge you to know you are loved — infinitely greater than a government, society or culture (whatever you call it) can love you. You are loved by a God who knows you by name, saw you before the creation of the world and thinks about you still. You are given a chance to meet this love in person through Jesus, and you are not left alone to figure this life out; you are given direction through the Holy Spirit.
And church, I address you personally: I challenge you to find a way to be lovely again. DO NOT let your love grow cold. I challenge you to cross your own lines that you’ve drawn in the sand and approach others in the name of love again. We must find a conversation with those that we put on the other side of that line in the name of Christ. Repent and turn back to your first love. Remember what it was like to be lost then found. Remember the love when Christ found you, and let that light of love shine brighter than the divisions of this world.
Let Jesus have the line; let’s all find a way to be loved, and be love.
(Matt Tygart is the pastor of Harvest Community Church in Powell.)