I just saw “Spiderman 3” last night, and I was honestly pretty impressed with it. There was an amazing message in that movie that I am surprised got past Hollywood inspection. Several really great messages in it, actually.

It was all about how we have choices to make in life and how those choices have consequences. Every choice we make has a ripple effect, it creates a chain reaction. Each choice affects us personally, it affects our character – either building or destroying it, and it affects others and our relationships with them. In the movie, Peter had choices to make, and he did not always choose to do what he knew was right. He learned and grew from it though, as he began to realize the kind of effects his choices had on him and on the ones he loved.

Another biblical concept found in this movie is the whole idea of being selfless. Aunt May told Peter that a husband needs to put his wife ahead of himself, and as the movie goes on, he is forced to reevaluate his heart and determine if he is really ready to be that selfless. He ends up actually deciding he is not to that point yet, and Aunt May sets the ring down, looks at him, and says, “In time.” Not the typical circumstances you might expect to find in a big-deal, big-budget movie. Usually they tend to lean more towards instant gratification in any way they can. In this movie, though, he’s learning to be patient. Even at the end of the movie, Mary Jane has no ring, but they are building their foundation, making their friendship stronger. Another amazing lesson that is so atypical of movies these days.

When people go around praising everything you do, it is easy to begin to think too much of yourself. Peter found this out as all of New York went crazy over Spiderman. It was obvious in the look on his face that the sudden burst of attention and praise felt good. He liked being liked by everybody, and really, who doesn’t? It cost him though. He chose the attention and adoration over the ones he loved, and he didn’t even realize how he was hurting them. How hard it had to be for Mary Jane to feel like she had lost her best friend, and for her and Aunt May to see the decisions Peter was making. Their hurt was made really obvious, as was his cluelessness. He became so arrogant and full of himself, and then he could not understand why nobody wanted to be around him anymore. He didn’t understand how his conceit and selfishness affected his life and worked together to destroy everything that was important to him. [Proverbs 16:18]

Peter learned how sin can sometimes feel good for a while. He learned about the grip it gets on us too. We cannot play with sin and expect to be safe, never getting hurt, never hurting those around us. Just like the black slimy junk that created a bond that was hard for him to break, when we play with sin, a bond is created that becomes increasingly hard to break.

There is some sacrificial love in there… Harry says at one point that he would give his life for his friends, not knowing the literal way in which his words would play out. It is exactly what he ends up doing though. That is the greatest kind of love. The kind that is selfless and puts others ahead. [John 15:13]

One of my favorite parts of “Spiderman 3” was the end of the movie… He is standing there talking with the man who killed his uncle Ben, and he begins to tell him about the lessons he’s learned. “We always have a choice.” And I was just sitting in the theater waiting for him to say it… Then, finally, he did. He told this man three very simple words, “I forgive you.” Spiderman learned the importance of forgiveness. He discovered that if we let bitterness and revenge take over our lives, it will take root and eventually destroy us. It will ruin our lives if we don’t choose to let go of it and forgive. In order to follow Jesus, we have to forgive. It takes courage, and it takes humility. Forgiveness is not the natural choice for us to make, because we are by nature very selfish people. Forgiveness means choosing to let go of whatever wrong that was done and choosing to love the person who hurt you. That means putting their needs ahead of our own. [Matthew 5:38-48]

This is really a great movie with a lot of concepts that parallel what the Bible says. Sure, Spiderman turned into a complete pig for a while, and that was disappointing, but I so enjoyed watching as he grew and learned from his mistakes and choices. I had to smile when his friendship with Harry was restored and when he told the guy who’d killed his uncle, “I forgive you.” That takes a lot of strength, and I cannot help but wonder and hope and pray that I would be willing to do the same. He didn’t want to at first, but in this movie we get to watch him on the journey to forgiveness.

Anyway, I’m not really one for movie analysis, but I was so surprised at how many great biblical truths showed up in this movie, and I had to write about it. If you’ve not seen it… I would encourage you to. There is a little language and a lot of violence, but the message is amazing.

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