The Self Gratifying Reward of Self Redemption
I sometimes watch films in fragments. I catch a bit here and a bit there. See half an hour of it in one sitting, and then catch some other part the next time the network cycles it through its schedule.
Will Smith's, Seven Pounds, was one such film. Due to the fact that it polarized so many viewers and critics on its release in 2008, it intrigued me to the point that, this time round, I thought I'd stick the whole thing out.
Just in case you haven't seen it, and want to one day, I won't give much away here—this isn't a true review.
In a brief phrase, here's how I'd summarize the plot:
One man's altruistic quest for self-redemption.
At least, that's what the director may have had in mind for the viewer to experience.
However, I have a problem with pairing 'altruistic' and 'self-redemption' together.
And here's why:
Whether it's Will Smith's character, or any other human on the face of the earth, all attempts at self-redemption are inherently self-serving.
There is a self-gratifying reward to self-redemption.
My attempts at redeeming myself are deeply rooted in trying to remove the guilt I feel and thus feel better about myself. Even if my actions were viewed as being altruistic in nature, they are in fact deeply selfish in their motives.
Paul's spectacular letter to the Romans states that my attempts at self (flesh) redemption are intrinsically connected to my concern for my own well-being—and ironically lead to my own demise.
Romans 8:5-8 ESV—For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Self-redemption is a state of active hostility toward the redemption God offers—that found in Christ.
Paul states in trademark bluntness, self-redemption is no redemption at all.
Romans 8:8—Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Seven Pounds left me with a deep ache in my stomach as I considered a pattern of life repeated all over this planet.
But it also led me to worship.
I worship because I have been made right with the God of this Universe, my Creator.
I have been granted Redemption.
My gratification is not in myself because my redemption didn't originate with me.
My gratification is in Christ, the author and finisher of my faith, my Redeemer.
To the praise of His glory!