One thing I look forward to, while visiting my parents, is watching their favourite TV drama shows.
For those who don’t know the world of Hindi television series, welcome to the episodic deluge of joint family-based melodrama. Months and years of gigantic plots within plots. Actors wear heavy make-up and even heavier expressions. Welcome to generations of Mothers-in-law vs. Daughters-in-law, crescendoing emotional background music and spacious living rooms that remind you of five-star hotel lobbies you dare not visit. Good characters have innocent looks; evil ones have evil smirks and usually sport large pendants that alien civilizations may have used for target-practice.
All actors also appear to have Wolverine’s healing powers, the only reason why the lady who seems all of 24 years, now has a 19-year old brat as her son.
But let me draw your attention to an interesting episode of ‘Saath Nibhana Saathiya’.
Manasi : Young, scheming woman in T-shirt and jeans (denoting her corrupting, evil nature) is on an accusing spree against –
Gopi : Young woman draped in a traditional saree (denoting her morally upright nature) that would cost twice my monthly wages.
So, Manasi reveals to Gopi’s children that their mother has been a murderer! But –
Mother-in-law Prime, Kokila: comes yelling in defense of her daughter-in-law. In a 10-minute monologue, she reveals that Gopi bahu had taken the blame for a murder she never committed- TADA!
Indian TV drama-universe Rule # 1: The approval of the Mother-in-law means pretty much everything and gives joy and purpose to life in general.
Our Gopi has that approval! With big, threatening eyes, deeply lined with kajal, Mother-in-law Prime’s voice booms into deep space in Gopi’s defence:
“This day forth, no one shall bring allegations against MY Gopi bahu!”
Dissshhhh, goes the cymbal.
“No one in this house shall DARE raise their voices against Gopi – ever again !”
Dissshhhh, goes the cymbal again.
Oh, the catharsis, the vicarious jubilation to see Gopi being vindicated! Everyone at home watched in silence; even I loved it (just don’t tell my parents).
Come to think of it, it’s not just people glued to their TV sets who love seeing their heroes finally cleared of blame and suspicion. We love it when everyone finds Harry Potter was right about Voldemort’s arrival and the Ministry of Magic is left red-faced. We are elated when everyone finds out Ethan Hunt the agent had never compromised his team.
We seem to resonate with characters who were presumed guilty but are later proven,innocent. And wouldn’t we, in some way, love to have a figure like Mother-in-law Prime, defending us?
Reality-check. In real-life, people who truly know me will never say that I resemble the perpetually do-goody Gopi. And when I look at God’s impartial standards in the Bible, I think anyone will admit their true state (Matt 5:21-22, Matt5 :27-28).
If there is a God, do we really think He would NOT find fault with you and me? Is not evil a common thread between us and Manasi, present in one form or the other of selfishness? Sadly, the punishment against an infinite God will be infinite in nature- which is why hell is a default reality for anyone who is reading this (Matt 13:42, Matt 25:41).
Most of us will agree that evil Manasi deserves hell. But would we watch a series where Manasi gets Kokila’s affection and support, while Gopi bahu bears Manasi’s consequences? Ugh!
Can you imagine Dumbledore embracing and forgiving Draco Malfoy- over Harry Potter’s dead body? Lousy! But that is every Christ-follower’s story.
God found us at our worst (Rom 5:6). Those who trust that God will accept Jesus’ moral right-ness as their own record of life, will find God’s protection and affections (Rom 4:5-8).
Christ has pleased God the Father by a life, pure and unmatched, which is credited to me, so now I can live by Jesus’ power to serve God and others with joy, knowing that the impossible penalty of mine was taken away. This is the joy of true conversion – justification.
The real, living God is far more honourable than any fictional Dumbledore or Kokila, yet He sent His Son as a sacrifice for the ungodly.
Will you believe this and be justified today– declared morally right before God?