Yesterday afternoon my son and I sat down and watched the Steven Spielberg movie, "Hook". This is one of our families favorite movies and so when we saw this was on the Turner Classic Movie channel we took the opportunity to sit and watch. One of the reasons this movie is one of my favorites is that the movie seems to have many spiritual metaphors. This seems to be the case with many of Spielberg's film as I find this is the case with Saving Private Ryan and Schiendlers List, which have some of the best spiritual metaphors in them.
There is a scene however in Hook that reminds me of the importance of God's character. If you have never seen the movie, there is a scene in which Capt Hook has developed a scheme to entice or convince Peter Pan's children to love him over their father. However, in order to do this he must first place doubts within the children's minds that their parents do not really love them. Hook begins to do this by planting seeds of doubt in their minds that neither parent loves them and that they just tolerate them. Hook especially begins to focus on Peters son Jack.
Hook methodically begins to inform Jack that his father really doesn't love him. He does this emphasizing that Jack's father had missed a couple of his baseball game so therefore could Jack really trust his fathers love? This begins to place doubts in Jacks mind about his fathers character and whether his father does indeed love him. There is a scene in the movie where Hook leans in and whispers to Jacks and says "You know Jack, Hook never breaks a promise, I am a man of my word". Hook says this to convince Jack that he can trust him with his feelings. In return, Hook orchestrates a baseball game to further entice Jack - all the while Hook cares nothing for the boy and is using him to bait Peter to a fight. It is Hook's intentions to ultimately kill Peter and rule Neverland for all time.
The metaphor can be plainly seen here between man and God. So often man has a misrepresentation of God's character. Satan for thousands of years has whispered in the ears of men that God is not who he really says He is. God is somehow manipulative or is controlling and that he really doesn't love us. Somehow God just wants to spoil our fun in the end and therefore He can not be trusted. All the while God has given mankind overwhelming evidence that we should never have to questions his character or his integrity. Just as with Capt Hook and Jack, Hook had enticed Jack to think it was Hook who really loved him but it was really Hook who hated Jack and cared nothing for the boy (all the while Peter really did love and care for his children). It was all a ploy to ruin Peters reputation with Peters children so in the end Hook could kill Peter. This is no different a story with Satan and our heavenly Father. The scriptures tell us that Satan is a liar and a thief and wants nothing more than to kill us.
In the end Jack realized that it was Hook who had tricked him into thinking that his father didn't really care. How so? Ultimately Jack realized that his father indeed loved him. That his father had risked his life to save his children from the clutches of Hook. The same can be said of our heavenly Father, that God has showed all of mankind without a doubt that He truly does love us and is willing to die to show us the extent of His love.
Personally, this is why I think theology and doctrine is one of Satan's most successful tools to persuading people to reject God (at least the one presented to them by the church today). So much of today's theology seems to blame God and impugn his character rather than showing people who he really and truly is. The belief that God's knows or wills the absolute future is one of those lies I think Satan has used to falsely accuse God of tyranny and of being unloving. If we really get down to it much of our theology preached in today's churches are blaming God for all of the sin in our world. Take Total Depravity or Original Sin for instance. Again, this theology literally has to blame God for all of the sin that's occurring here on earth. God has somehow cursed man to do the very thing He is repulsed by - and yet is going to send countless people to hell for doing that which they can not stop doing. Look at the doctrine of election - according to this theology mankind has no freewill or ability to love God, therefore God has ordained some to heaven and some to hell - all the while man has no choice in the matter. Over and over many of the theologies being preached in our pulpits do nothing but impugn or malign God's character. Again, giving countless people an excuse not to love God. Again, this in of itself does not allow sinners off the hook for their selfish actions, for Paul tells us that the revealed nature of God is evident through the very existence of creation, not to mention we are condemned by our own conscience. But again, this is the power of right doctrine and the gospel truth. For the truth of who God and Jesus is, is what sets us free from the traps laid by the enemy. It is this truth that sets us free from sin and death. In the end man can not truly love or believe in something that he is conflicted with in his mind. Therefore, if for some reason your theology is preventing you from loving God or you seem to have problems with a part of God's character - then maybe its not God who is the problem, but maybe its your theology or understanding of God's character. Seek the truth for it will set you free!