hacksaw-ridgeHow far would I go to stand by my convictions?

It’s been a few years since Mel Gibson has been behind the camera—10 years to be exact—but he has returned with an incredible piece of work. Hacksaw Ridge, which opens this weekend, is extremely well done and thought-provoking—on so many levels.

Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who volunteered to serve in the army during World War II. It sounds illogical for a conscientious objector to volunteer, but Doss’ Christian convictions allowed for both.

  • Doss knew the Axis forces were evil, and he  volunteered to do his part to defeat them.
  • Doss took the Sixth Commandment seriously. He would not kill; therefore, he would not pick up a gun.

All Doss wanted to do was be a medic, but basic training required training with a gun. His refusal to do so led to a court martial. My favorite line in the movie came from Doss during his court marital:

With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.”

 I’ll leave the rest of the story right there, but Doss became the only person to ever receive the Medal of Honor who never fired a gun.

This is not a “Christian” movie in the normal sense of the word, but it’s one of the most Christian movies I’ve seen. Gibson’s war scenes rival anything in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan for battle realism and intensity. Soldiers talk like soldiers. But in the midst of the violence and horror is a man who unashamedly lives out his Christian convictions.  This is not the contrived story so common in Christian movies. This is a real man in a real world living out a real faith.

The movie never takes a swipe at owning and using guns. Desmond Doss never preaches against guns; it’s just his personal decision not to use one.  He never acts superior for his conviction nor does he call others to take the same view. Doss quietly embodies the principles of Romans 14, living out his convictions without pressing them on others.

Go see this movie. Yes, it’s full of blood and guts, but you’ll walk away wanting to be a better person. And you’ll find yourself asking yourself the question I opened with:

How far would I go to stand by my convictions?

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