Banished

So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.                                                                                                                                                                                 Genesis 3:23

 

Last week Marty and I started watching the Amazon series “Banished.” Seeing the “redcoats,” I thought at first it was a patriotic film in honor of Independence Day. But this series is set in eighteenth century Australia in a penal colony that would later become Sydney. .

Like most people, I knew that Australia was where British criminals were sent, but little more. I had never bothered to envision what life might have been like for them.

The storyline was one of constant oppression by one person or group toward another.

For example, an officer tells a soldier under him that there aren’t enough women to go around; he must “share” his woman. If the soldier refuses, he will be hanged, and she will belong to the officer anyway. (Women are property here.)

One convict, a blacksmith, routinely steals the food of another, simply because he is bigger and the others are afraid to resist him, leaving his victim to starve. When the starving man complains, the authorities claim not to believe him, only because they don’t want to lose their only blacksmith.

Time and again, one person pulls rank on another, simply because they can. Any offense, from murder to petty theft is punishable by hanging (with or without evidence). In the penal colony there is neither justice nor mercy, and anyone confronting the authorities with their hypocrisy is met with indifference – or punishment.

I have lived a pretty sheltered life and have never seen this degree of bullying outside the playground or movies. Having been raised in a loving family, it’s hard for me to fathom that kind of brazen selfishness so shamelessly acted out.

The theme of oppression is one that is strikingly relevant today. Certainly race has a great deal to do with the hostilities here in the U.S. But in “Banished,” interestingly, every character is white and English. Clearly something else is in play besides race, and that something could be summed up in a word:

POWER.

Throughout history, many have proven that they cannot be trusted with power. Given a little authority over another human being, insecure people become tyrants, treating those under them as their own personal property, manipulating them to benefit themselves, or just bullying to show off – because they can. Where there is no chain of authority, the power lies with the biggest, the strongest, or the shrewdest. Cruelty approaches the demonic when the bully not only doesn’t care about whom he’s hurting or what is right and wrong, but really doesn’t care if he’s hated. The basest appetites rule, and the one with the power has regressed to a point where he is hardly recognizable as someone who was once a creature made in the image of God.

“Banished” is an appropriate title for this series, because it’s about people banished from their mother country, and seemingly alienated from the human race, as well.

Recently there was a discussion on a local station about racial tensions and related events in the news. My friend Marilyn, a black woman on the panel, was asked what her views were on racial reconciliation. She replied that she really didn’t like the term.

“The word ‘reconciliation’ implies that there was once a good relationship that has been lost and needs to be restored,” she pointed out. “But between the races, there has only been the oppressor and the oppressed.” Interesting point.

The need for reconciliation goes much further back than this century. It even goes further back than slavery in the U.S. It  goes clear back to Creation, when God made people in His own image.

“God is love.” (I John 4:8) But Love needs an object. So the God of the universe created the first man and woman in His image, someone to lavish His love on. They enjoyed sweet fellowship with their Creator daily in the Garden of Eden – a perfect relationship in a perfect place. They had access to countless delights. All they had to do was refrain from eating the fruit of one tree.

But soon the couple were enticed to disobey, being persuaded that the God who had given them everything was somehow holding back something good. When they had tasted the one forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened, but it was not to see wonderful new things. It was to see their own sinfulness. Having been corrupted, humanity was banished from the Garden, and Mankind has lived in a fallen world ever since.

We blew it. Yes, “we.” Before pointing a finger at anyone else, we must consider that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We all need reconciliation, but in our sin we have burned our ships, and there’s no going back without God’s help.

Here’s the dilemma:

God is just. We have all separated ourselves from Him and can’t return to a sinless state; “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

But God is also merciful, and He loves us.

So, now what?

Jesus’ death on the cross was the only way God could act both justly and mercifully. Jesus paid the price we owed, the price we could never afford to pay for ourselves. Through believing in Him we can be reconciled to God and live forever in the home He has prepared for us.

All of us are criminals. All of us are rightly condemned. But pardon has been extended to us. We can accept it and go back to the Father who loves us. Or we can reject the offer and remain alienated and without hope.

Do we dare pass up such an offer?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for offering the pardon I desperately need but don’t deserve. I accept! Help me now to live the life You created me to live, in Jesus’ name. Amen

 

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “Banished

  1. Such a beautifully written post, Annie! I get your point about power – it turns people into unfeeling monsters.
    I haven’t heard of that t.v. series. It sounds good, but I imagine it’s also uncomfortable to watch.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I haven’t heard of the series but it sounds about right – people will always find someone to bully, even if that someone is just like them. I’ve witnessed a lot of it myself. In the workplace more so than at school. That tells you something…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am familiar with the series Banished. So true that when some have power they can use it in such a wrong way not caring for anyone or anything besides themselves.
    We all fall short and need God.
    Thanks for sharing Ann.
    Manu 😊.

    Like

  4. AMEN!
    The hypocrisy of mankind is just stunning….not in a good way.
    They talk about racism, white’s against blacks, let’s not forget the racism within the various races, and groups. Black call blacks the “N” word, within the Gay community, there is prejudice, bias and bigots as well within their community, I know I lived in it for almost 20 yrs, then the Lord saved me by His Grace in a powerful way.
    You have stated it properly, ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s Glory!

    Liked by 1 person

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