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January 24, 2008


TV theology 2: LOST’s Sayid experiences the liberation of real forgiveness

by quaesitor

In my opinion, LOST Season 3 is much better than Season 2 (the latter just got silly – well more silly than the other stuff). I know we’re a bit behind the times but have been working through it as a result of a lovely Christmas present. For the uninitiated, Sayid (played by Brit, Naveen Andrews) was a torturer with the Iraqi Republican Guard under Saddam Hussein. He is one of a large number of survivors of a terrible plane crash onto a deeply mysterious island, somewhere in the South Pacific. In each episode, a different character is the focus and we learn more about them through a series of flashbacks. In the episode ENTER 77, Sayid has a flashback to his time working as a chef in Paris – and finds himself kidnapped by the husband of someone who claims he tortured her back in Iraq. Here she confronts him. NB – the first minute or so is a bit gruesome!

If this clip doesn’t work, then you can watch it on the Youtube site here. Don’t quite understand why it works sometimes and not others.

Forgiveness here is profoundly liberating. But notice it is also linked to admission of guilt. And the guilt was genuine, as the clip shows. It had plagued and haunted Sayid ever since. His only escape from the vicious cycle of revenge was for forgiveness to break it. It is what Dr Truman in the ER clip (previous posting) longs for but never found in the hospital. But it is remarkably what Sayid finds from his victim.
After this flashback, Sayid’s forgiveness has a major impact on his life and methods – and creates significant tensions amongst fellow-survivors his part in the drama. But it all goes to remind me of the essential Christian imperative that is derived from the gospel liberation of forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:23-5:2) Of course, not everyone has the ‘luxury’ of being able to find forgiveness from the people they have wronged. Estrangement or bereavement are two such barriers, as is a victim’s unwillingness to forgive. Which is why it is all the more amazing that the gospel brings total and divine liberation for every conceivable (and inconceivable) wrongdoing.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Adam
    Jan 29 2008

    Good clip, but in my mind not nearly as powerful an image as the previous one. While not taking away anything from the difficulty that the woman faced in forgiving this man, it is telling that it came AFTER that admission of guilt, after the “sorry”. At least in my life (and I’ve never come close to facing the crimes against me as this woman had) it has never been too difficult to forgive those who have ‘tried to make it right’ with me. How much more incredible, then, that “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and the “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The scandal of Christ’s forgiveness is that it was ultimately based on His love rather than our repentance.

  2. Jan 29 2008

    I agree that the other is more powerful. And that the cross is the most astonishing means of forgiveness that the world has ever seen. What struck me though was the real freedom the comes from facing up to the truth and then forgiveness itself – both are liberating.


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