(I am finally sharing this post after years of having a particular movie come back to mind time and time again. It continues to bless me with a glimpse of God’s redemption.)
The Razor’s Edge is a movie in which Bill Murray plays Larry. Shortly after WWI, Larry goes on a quest to find truth, to find something worth living for, to find a purpose to life. He was not content to simply be who everyone else expected him to be, living the status quo life he saw all around him. No, he wanted more.
And so he parts ways with the girl he was seeing at the time, Isabel, and goes off for a year to tour the world, eventually finding himself up on a snowy mountain peak in Nepal. At the end of the year he returns to London to learn that Isabel had married one of Larry’s wealthy and influential friends.
One night, while all three of them were out to dinner together they saw in the restaurant an old friend of theirs named Sophie. Isabel related the gossip about her. Evidently she had gotten mixed up with drugs and alcohol and even worse had now resorted to prostitution. Right then and there Larry decides to rescue Sophie.
Larry takes Sophie home with him, to save her. He convinces her to stay with him each new day and they spend the days just enjoying life. Picnics, outings on the lake, long walks, good conversation… Soon the light comes back to Sophie’s eyes. She remembers what it was to have fun, to laugh again, to really be alive. She has hope.
It was in this unselfish daily outpouring of redeeming love, giving worth to Sophie, and restoring the beauty of her soul that Larry finds what he was looking for all along. He finds it in true love. He never so much as makes a reference to her past. But instead he gently woos her, wins her confidence and trust and eventually her heart.
After many days Larry and Sophie become engaged, but Isabel, though married to another, is jealous and sabotages Sophie. She cuts her down with snide remarks and tells her that she doesn’t deserve to be loved by Larry. She doesn’t hesitate to remind her of her past and her words find their mark. Sophie is devastated and begins to drink a bottle of alcohol, a gift from Isabel.
Sophie leaves. When Larry learns that she is gone, he is soon in desperate search of her. Sadly, he learns that Sophie had returned to her old life and finds her at the brothel, drugged up, drunk, and surrounded by wicked men. He pleads with her to come home with him and she replies, “Don’t you see, you’re better off without me.” The men throw him out and beat him up as he struggles to rescue her.
The next day Sophie is found dead, floating in the river.
In this story, I see the heart of God for us. We are “Sophie”. We all need a Savior to come to our rescue, sweep us off our feet, and show us how to live, laugh, and love again. But, our story could end as tragically as Sophie’s if we aren’t careful. We have to fight to embrace the love of Jesus. While it may be true that we don’t deserve God’s outrageous love, that doesn’t matter to him. It isn’t about what we deserve at all. It’s all about his passionate love for us.
There is a verse that saved my life found in 1 John 4:18:
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” NIV
or, as another translation puts it:
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” NLT
This verse gives me hope, that though I may still fear, it’s only because I haven’t quite yet grasped God’s perfect love for me. His love is still there. It still remains to be discovered, embraced and that’s encouraging! And then there’s that whole thing about punishment. Let me ask you, are there any sins left to be punished if Jesus took them all at the cross?
What remains then is, will we receive his love? Will we fight for that love, to hang on to that love?
God will indeed receive you and lavish such love on you, never to mention the ways you went wrong in the past. But, you must not allow the devil to lie to you, and tear you away from the one who loves you so much that he would die for you (and he did). You must hang on to the hope that Jesus offers you. You need to believe!
There is a similar story found early in the book of Hosea in the Bible. Through this story God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute. Hosea’s wife then leaves him and gets mixed up with other men. Hosea searches for her and when he finds her, he even has to pay a ransom to buy his own wife back.
God orchestrated this story in Hosea’s life to represent God’s relationship with his people. That even though we have been, and are, unfaithful to him, as Hosea’s wife was to him, and even though we cheat on him with our sins, God still loves us. He will not divorce us as his people but will restore us and redeem us… if that’s what we want.
“God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
He doesn’t even wait for our hearts to turn toward him to redeem us. He redeemed us even when we still loved our sin. Even when we are still pursuing our wicked ways, he died for us. This is what Jesus has done for you and me at the cross.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated his love toward us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
It is Christ’s death that redeems us from death. It is Jesus who came to our rescue while we were still “in the whorehouse”. He will restore life and beauty to our souls.
One more note. We also must be careful not to play the part of Isabel in other peoples lives. Jesus wants everyone to come to the table of his love and grace. We cannot be obstacles to people coming to Jesus. There is room for everyone and we must not make it about who deserves to come and who is more righteous than the next and who deserves his approval more. No one deserves the extravagant love of God. But God is desperate that everyone knows his generous love and redemption.
Redemption is such a beautiful thing!
Always remember this: you are loved outrageously by an outrageously loving God!
ps. Read Luke 15. This is the Father’s attitude toward us, and relates perfectly to this post.
This video will bless you: Love, by Jaeson Ma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73kZ6wBoqTk