My usual tendency is to say WAY more than is needed; but every once in a great while, I can actually be guilty of saying too little, and I hate, hate, HATE to generate misunderstanding 😀. On that note, I'd like to clarify my recent post of the quote from Atticus Finch of "To Kill a Mockingbird."
As I've said, "To Kill A Mockingbird" has been my favorite book and favorite movie as long as I can remember; largely because I feel it sets forth the sterling value of courage to do what is right in the face of overwhelming opposition. Growing up, I had heroes, like most boys; but the two that endured above them all were Abraham Lincoln and Atticus Finch (yes, I realized even as a boy that only one of those two was real, but I dearly loved the ideal embodied in Atticus, and I always heard he was modeled after Harper Lee's own real-life father). At age 26, when I trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, I was born again as a child of God, and my perspective changed RADICALLY (I Corinthians 2:14). My values, as far as what is heroic, virtuous and noble, are now set forth in the Word of God, and embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ, and not in any mortal who has ever lived or been portrayed in writing or on film. I believe Abraham Lincoln was a Christian, who lived out his Christian beliefs imperfectly, and managed to do something quite admirable, against incredible odds, that turned the course of this nation at the greatest cost to himself and his family. And I believe Atticus Finch is a great fictional character who personifies the same kind of virtue and valor found in honest Abe, standing up for what is right to the very last, against overwhelming odds, at tremendous personal cost. Throughout the Bible, the prophets of God, including Jesus, Himself, found themselves embracing even unto death what seemed like a lost cause, humanly speaking. They stood, often utterly ALONE (Genesis 6:5-8; Numbers 14:24; II Kings 22:6-28) for Truth and for righteousness, and faced the most cruel and painful rejection on a mass scale for it (Luke 4:24; 11:49-51; II Timothy 4:7-17). In that, Atticus and Abe bear a resemblance to the prophets of old that I find truly inspirational, and I can still admire and appreciate them for that. But the resemblance ends there. Atticus Finch (besides being fictional!), was not following Matt 6:33 ("seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness"). He was standing up for what is right for conscience sake, according to "the work of the law written in [his] heart" by his Creator (Romans 2:14-15), though I can't recall a shred of evidence in Harper Lee's great book that Fictional Finch ascribed any credence at all to the God of the Bible or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And every prophet of God in the Bible, who truly WAS serving the interests of Heaven, did so from the standpoint of VICTORY ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED (Job 19:25-27; Isaiah 46:9-10; Revelation 13:8, etc.) though every appearance from a temporal, earthly perspective was only that of the most abject failure and dismal defeat (Hebrews 11:1-40). I still applaud the raw courage shown by Atticus, and think it is, sadly, an exceedingly rare thing among men (Jeremiah 9:3; Romans 3:10-18). If we stand for Christ and the Truth of His Word, we shall inevitability face what may seem like IMPOSSIBLE opposition that may take innumerable forms (II Timothy 3:12). But, make no mistake; the VICTORY, from the eternal and spiritual standpoint (which is the one that really counts, by the way!) IS ALREADY OURS IN JESUS (Romans 8:28-39; I Corinthians 15:1-58; II Corinthians 2:14; II Timothy 1:10). And Gregory Peck, the guy who played Atticus in the movie, was a Hollywood actor, who seems to have been a really nice guy (as Hollywood actors go). He did a STELLAR job of playing an iconic literary character (I identify Peck with Finch so completely in my mind that I really have no desire to see any other actor ever take on that role!). I have a special, sentimental attachment to him for that, and it touches my heart that I share with Gregory Peck the very personal life tragedy of a father losing a dearly beloved son to suicide. But Peck is not my role model, by any stretch.
Paul says, "we sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." Ah, Heaven knows, WE DO SORROW; believe me, MAN! WE SORROW!!! (In fact, see Philippians 2:25-27, where Paul thanks the Lord for sparing him "sorrow upon sorrow;" crushing, pounding wave after successive wave of relentless, AGONIZING sorrow over what could have been: the death of his friend, Epaphroditus). But I don't believe Gregory Peck ever knew the hope we have in Jesus Christ, that transcends even the most dear of earthly connections and most grievous of losses. And, by nothing but the sheer, abounding GRACE of the most merciful God, I DO.