At The Movies: Hacksaw Ridge
Average movies entertain us. The best ones inspire us. There’s nothing like watching a good movie. You’re caught up in the story, on the edge of your seat, feet glued to the floor, a bucket of popcorn in your lap. If you want to laugh—there’s comedy. If you want to cry—there’s a romantic movie. If you want to jump—there are scary movies. Thrills, action, drama—everything we long for, because we love stories. We long for adventure. We long for good triumphing over evil. During the At The Movie series, we will explore the Biblical themes of these popular movies by extracting biblical principles and examining spiritual truths in plot lines, stories, and characters. The point is to point you towards Jesus. The point is Jesus. Because if we focus on Him, it leads us to the right choices in life. This week we look at Hacksaw Ridge.
Something To Talk About:
Hacksaw Ridge is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector to ever earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.
- God is looking for people for a mission: “I can’t hear you Lord,” [loud explosions all around and total chaos] “What do you want from me?” A distant cry for help… “Help me save one more.” As Desmond Doss discovered on Hacksaw Ridge, we are surrounded by lost and wounded people all around us. It is our job as Christians to help God save one more. To do that we need to focus more on God and not the mission. We need to be immersed in the reality of the love of God for us. We need to see what great love He has lavished on us that we are now called the children of God. The outcome of focusing on God will help produce our motivation and spur us on to overwhelming love for those who are lost and wounded. We must serve them out of our love. And do it humbly, lovingly, yet urgently. Once each one of us are reconciled to God, we are to be about the Father’s business of reconciling others with God.
- The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few: Jesus and His little community of disciples were very small. They lived on the margins of society. Yet the crowds flocked to them, eager to hear the good news of the kingdom. Like ripples in a bond that constantly expand, God used these handful of disciples to impact the world. Matthew 9:37 tells us, “He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” What does it mean for us, as a congregation in the panhandle of Florida to be faithful? How can we accomplish what God is asking us to accomplish? What does it mean to be the few laborers, moving forward even when we can’t perceive the harvest? We can take lessons from staying on mission from Desmond Doss. Doss never held a grudge for the way all the soldiers mistreated him in basic training. Amid the smoke and mayhem, Desmond Doss bravely dropped to his hands and knees and started crawling from one fallen American soldier to the next checking to see who was still alive. The wounded troops could barely believe their eyes when they realized what Doss was doing. One after another, Desmond Doss continued to brave the battle and run straight into danger without so much as a weapon of his own. As bullets and mortar shells raced passed him, Doss risked his life to save others time and time again all the while coming dangerously close to Japanese positions. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” Desmond Doss found people he could help save and God will open doors to share our faith with those who are far from the heart of God if we listen and react to His providential leading.
- Have you seen the movie Hacksaw Ridge? What did you like about it? What lessons can we learn from the movie about reaching our spiritually lost and hurting neighbors?
- Put yourself in the boots of the American soldiers who were wounded and left behind on the battlefield. First, what would that have felt like to be someone in that position? Second, how would you react when Desmond Doss came to rescue you?
- What are some sacrifices you make in your everyday life? What is the biggest sacrifice you have ever made? How have sacrifices transformed you?
- Have you ever tried to share the words of the gospel with a person who is far from the heart of God? How was that experience? What are the barriers to sharing the gospel words more often?
- James 2:17 says “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” Do you find it easier to share the gospel through your actions or your words? How should we try to share? What should the balance look like in our life?
- None of us know exactly how all 75 of those soldiers had their lives changed by Doss during that battle. In what ways do you think Jesus can change the lives of your friends or family members?
- In the movie, Desmond Doss says “With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.” How can we put a little bit of this world back together?
- Who is that one person you are willing to take a risk for, this week, to make sure they know about Jesus?
Take one thing home with you:
In the movie, it would have been easy for Desmond Doss to see his own comrades as the enemy as well as the Japanese. That brings up the question – who is the enemy. There are certainly people out there that make it easy to hate or hard to love. But remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-44: “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Does that mean that we grit our teeth and camouflage our disdain for people with fake warm feelings for them? No. But we do need to see them as we are – broken, confused, messed up, hurting, and struggling. They need Jesus just as we need Jesus. They are not beyond the beyond the grace of God, just as we are not. We should respond to our enemies like God responded to us when we were His enemy. What you simply can’t do, though, is decide that you’re worthy of God’s grace but that other person is not. Just as Desmond Doss prayed to “save one more” we should do what we can and pray for the salvation of others.