Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Sister's Keeper

I didn't know what we were preparing to watch last night as I double-clicked to play the title movie; it turned out to be a saddening tear-jerker for my wife, and I'm sorry about that - she doesn't think those kinds of movies should be made. But My Sister's Keeper was a thought-provoking look at a family dealing with leukemia.

At first, the family of four was happy, but then the daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctor, off-the-record, recommended having another child, genetically altered to be guaranteed to be a donor match for who would be her diseased sibling. The family went through with this course of action, and for years, "used" the youngest of their 3 children to aid the middle child. Meanwhile the struggles, including dyslexia, of the eldest child - a boy - went pretty much unnoticed.

At age 11, the youngest daughter hires a lawyer, desiring to be medically independent. She claims that she doesn't want to be a kidney donor for her sister, because that would keep her from playing soccer or being a cheerleader in her coming years. In other words, she wants a certain degree of freedom to become the woman she wants to become.

The twist to the story comes shortly after this revelation, but it doesn't pounce on you; instead it's developed slowly, enabling the audience to take it all emotionally. Without giving away the ending to the film, I will simply say that many ethical, moral, and familial interdependence issues are raised as the movie progresses. What should be done? Who gets to decide? At what age are certain types of decisions justified? These decisions apply to every family member, because every family member has a valued interest in one another.

Finally, though thinking through these issues is a worthy endeavor, the sad truth is that this film lacked the gospel. It had a gospel, but it wasn't the gospel. It's gospel was summed up in the beautiful scenery of Montana, with occasional, hopeful mentions of the next life and memories of shared and real family life - both good and bad. But the gospel is summed up in Christ, that by grace - due to our sin - through faith, we receive the gift of eternal life.

The film portrayed life as coincidence, and what we make of it (or perhaps with whom we live it) is where the value is found. But the gospel teaches us that life is valued and purposeful, not because of what we make it, nor because of with whom we live it, but because of who made it and for whom it is lived. The chief end of man, says the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It's about Him, knowing Him, enjoying Him. Acknowledging that family is a blessing from Him, we can foolishly substitute the gift for the giver (Romans 1:22-23,25). This movie may have reminded us to intimacy with our families, but it failed to drive us to intimacy with the One who gave us our families. It lacked the ends and the means to those ends of the apostle Paul, which he made clear in Philippians 3:10-11: "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

1 comment:

Plumber Manchester said...

Sounds like a good real-life film. Will definatley go and check it out. Thanks for leeting us know about it !