Apocalypto, Fear, and 2 Timothy

Flint Sky: Those people in the forest, what did you see on them?

Jaguar Paw: I do not understand.

Flint Sky: Fear. Deep rotting fear. They were infected by it. Did you see? Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it. It has tainted your peace already. I did not raise you to see you live with fear. Strike it from your heart. Do not bring it into our village.

I was watching Apocalypto, Mel Gibson’s Mayan adaptation from 2006, and noticed a bit of dialogue that struck a spiritual chord. Flint Sky stood unafraid, and proud, as fearful families of a ravaged village passed by on a hunt. But he picked up on how badly his son was affected by the chance meeting. Like an evil omen, it hung about Jaguar Paw like a wet blanket. And of course, why wouldn’t it? Jaguar Paw, we come to find, has much to worry about. He has a son, a wife, another child on the way, and with danger close, all that matters to him could be in jeopardy. But did his father not incur the same risk? Or even more so, seeing as how his standing in the village, and breadth of his family and influence was even greater? Had he not enjoyed a lasting peace for longer, and come to depend for more years on what had always been?

The viewer is forced to wonder why the father’s experience, or personality, has provided him a stoic surety, that the son yet lacked. Now of course, the Mayans had their own thoughts regarding gods, and afterlife, and I would not wish to compare the belief with Christianity at this time, but it was clear from the context of the film that for whatever reason, there was something  Flint Sky believed in regards to himself that allowed him to face the day with power, despite what may come. There was something that couldn’t be taken away, or even threatened, whether by hunger, or loss, or death itself. He had decided long ago that worry would not steal his joy, or determine his actions. It is in this way that God has called Christians to live for Him.

Consider this verse:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Many are familiar with it, but Flint Sky, the face of a father as he taught his son to not be afraid really brought it home. It became less of a bumper sticker, and more of a decision. This man was choosing to live, as we should, strong and courageous before the dangers of the world. No where in the word does it promise wealth, or merriment, or lack of tumult. On the contrary, what is promised is refinement, tribulations, persecutions. We look around with our spiritual eyes open and see moral corruption, materialism, leaders who have forsaken righteousness for angles towards money, and power. We see the slaughter of innocents for the sake of convenience, or misplaced self-importance. And amidst it all we are called to walk unafraid. If we become poor, or threatened, or jailed, we do so with power. And we teach our families to that end.

Bravely face what is to come; stare back at fear with the armor of God, and do not let it into your home, into your village. Do not let it taint your peace, for your savior has conquered death.

But you must ask, what comes next… to go, therefore, and do what…?

Verse 8-10 says:

 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

So, despite the fearful  citizens that walk past your hunting party, despite the marauders creeping towards the perimeter of the village, despite the world leering at you with agitated eyes, out to convert your thinking or destroy you and your influence; and even when your throat is threatened by your enemy’s obsidian dagger, you can stand tall without fear, honest in your gaze as you tell your family, do not be afraid. Do not bring it into your home. As for you and your house, you serve the Lord, the creator of all things, who conquered death, and who asks you to call Him father. What could possibly scare you?

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Author: J.R. Cooper

Author, Christian Fiction, Apologetics, Creationism vs Evolution, Published with Touch Publishing

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