40 Days On the Edge (Day 8): Deja Voodoo
40 Days On the Edge (Day 10): For the Living of These Days

40 Days On the Edge (Day 9): The Lives of Others

listening If you haven't seen the The Lives of Others, the movie voted Best Foreign Language Film of 2007 at the Oscars, perhaps you should.  (I only say perhaps because the move is rated R and contains some nudity and sexuality, so use discretion.)  Set in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, it's a movie that focuses on the transformation of Gerd Wiesler, a German Stasi (secret police) agent through his encounter with beauty --- the beauty of the relationship of actress Christa-Maria Sieland and her writer boyfriend, Georg Dreymann, the beauty of music, and the acting of Christa.  Wiesler comes to sympathize with their lives and see its contrast with his own drab existence through watching and listening.  He is assigned to surveillance.  Hence the title, the lives of others.

To be sure, it takes more than just listening and watching to transform a person.  It requires divine intervention.  But listening and watching are a conduit, a path on which God brings change.

Both Moses and Paul so identified with their people that they were willing to suffer judgment by God if it meant their people might be spared.  After the Israelites made the golden calf, on the eve of judgment, Moses boldly intercedes on their behalf, telling God that if He would not spare them, to "please blot me out of the book you have written" (Ex. 32:32), in other words, wipe him from the annals of history, to make him a non-person.  Paul said he was willing to accept damnation if it meant the salvation of his people (Rom. 9:1-4).  What's going on?  They were, like Wiesler in a way, so sympathetic to the lives of these "others" that they were willing to risk their lives for them.  And even more does Christ intercede boldly for us even now, indeed, died for us.

The lesson for me is not only to be aware of the lives of others, to watch and listen, but to pray boldly for their lives.  Then I will begin to know them, to sympathize with them, and even to love them.  Wiesler did it without praying.  Even more so we can change with praying boldly --- for the lives of others.

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