I’ve written before about the relationship of Mercy and Justice. The latest Oscar-nominated film from heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks has been one of the best illustrations in how the two qualities work together. Pardon the spoiler alerts below, but it’s worth highlighting the moments when humanity at its best is showcased.
Bridge is the true story of James Donovan, a Catholic lawyer who was recruited to defend an alleged Soviet spy. For much of the film it’s greatly speculated that the Soviet spy is perfectly guilty, yet Donovan, a mild insurance attorney, was recruited for his task in order to facilitate the desire for a kangaroo court to easily prosecute America’s enemies. Donovan, with a great sense of both justice and mercy took care to see the face of Christ in his client, even if he acted counter to the safety and security of his own country. He fought hard for a fair trial in the face of populist backlash.
Recognized for his talent of integrity and deal-making he then moves on to negotiate a trade of the Soviet Spy for a captured US fighter pilot. Upon discovering that another American student was captured by the Soviets, he doubles his efforts to rescue both Americans as part of the trade. Not only would he bring back home two instead of the one he was assigned to, he also sends home his National enemy who is also his friend. His determination and shrewdness (like a serpent’s) reminds me that God’s efforts are multiplied infinitely to get us back – to the point of the Cross. Duty only required a one-man trade. Mercy motivates the heart to overflow to surpass that and maximize the gains to bring as many people home and build as many bridges across the lines that divide us.
Noteworthy that this theme is echoed in a competing Oscar-nominated film The Martian – quite explicitly in that it’s on the poster – it seems that we move Heaven and Earth to maximize the potential of human life, even if that means spending millions of dollars and years of time to return home – for all those resources don’t out-value the infinite worth of one of God’s beloved creatures.
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