One of my favorite movies of all time is called Enemy Mine. Have you seen it? It’s pretty old…and it’s hard to believe it was such a flop at the box office, because the theme of the movie is so very poignant today.
The plot begins in the late 21st century and an interstellar war between humans (associated as the Bilateral Terran Alliance, or BTA) and Dracs (a reptilian humanoid race) is being fought. On July 11, 2092, human pilot Willis E. Davidge (Dennis Quaid) and Drac pilot Jeriba Shigan (Louis Gossett, Jr.) engage in a spacecraft battle and they both crash onto a hostile, dark alien world with two moons, a breathable atmosphere, water, and bizarre animal life.
(And yes, it is sci-fi, just keep reading… its a really good story and you will like it. I promise!)
After initial hostilities, the two eventually learn to cooperate in order to survive. They work together to build a shelter for protection against intermittent bombardment by meteorites, and to satisfy their needs for food, water, and warmth. Over a period of three years, they learn to overcome their differences, become friends, and learn each other’s languages and cultures. Each saves the other’s life on at least one occasion.
Davidge, haunted by dreams of spaceships landing on the planet, leaves in search of help. He finds signs of a human presence, but learns that the planet has been periodically visited by human miners known as “Scavengers”, who employ Dracs as slave labor. He returns to warn Jeriba (whom Davidge nicknames “Jerry”) only to discover that Jeriba is pregnant. (Dracs reproduce asexually with no control over timing of conception).
The combination of a blizzard and attack by one of the planet’s predators forces Davidge and Jeriba to flee their shelter. To pass the time Jeriba teaches Davidge his full lineage, explaining that it is a social necessity if his child is to be accepted into Drac society. Jeriba later dies during the childbirth, but not before making Davidge swear that if he ever escapes the planet to take Jeriba’s child back to Dracon (the Drac Homeworld) and recite his full ancestry so he can join Drac society.
Davidge raises the child as his own. Over the years, Davidge and Zammis form a very close bond, and although the young Drac refers to Davidge as its “uncle”, its emotional range towards Davidge is as a son would look up to a father – an emotion that Davidge shares as well. Davidge discovers that the Scavengers have returned to the planet in search of minerals and ore deposits, and he knows that they have little regard for Drac life, so he remains on guard to keep Zammis from getting captured or killed should they run into any of the miners. However, Zammis does not realize the danger and goes off to get a closer look at the Scavenger ship. He is quickly discovered by the Scavenger captain. Davidge, who has been following, attacks the brothers in a bid to save Zammis, but is violently gunned down. A human patrol ship finds Davidge, unrecognizable and apparently dead, and it returns him to the space station where he was formerly based on September 6, 2095.
On the station, during the funeral ceremony, Davidge awakens when one of the disposal technicians tries to steal the small book (the Talman) that Jerry had given him years before when he first wished to learn the Drac language. Davidge’s former patrol crew vouch for his loyalty to the BTA, even after it is discovered that he speaks the language fluently. Sometime later, Davidge is reinstated to duty, but not as a pilot – BTA Command has deemed him unqualified to pilot a ship until they determine successfully whether he’s been brainwashed by the Dracs or not.
Unable to enlist assistance to rescue Zammis from the Scavengers, Davidge desperately steals a spaceship to rescue Zammis solo. He manages to find and infiltrate Stubbs’ ship. Davidge contacts the Drac slaves in their own language which convinces them to help him overcome the brutality of the human overseers and eventually reunite with Zammis. Towards the end of the battle, Davidge is also assisted by a BTA crew who pursued him. They finally realize that whatever it was that he experienced while missing in action (MIA) has made him more human; he no longer hates Dracs.
In the epilogue, Davidge and Zammis return to Draco, the Drac homeworld for Zammis’s introduction ceremony with the Drac Holy Council so that he may be accepted into Drac society. As required and as he promised Jerry, Davidge recounts the complete Jeriba ancestry before the Holy Council in the traditional ritual, as he was taught by Jerry. A narrator explains that when “in the fullness of time, Zammis brought its own child before the Holy Council, the name of ‘Willis Davidge’ was added to the line of Jeriba.”
This movie plot reminds me very much of a scripture and the relationship that I used to have with God.
The verse is Romans 5: 6-8. It says:
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.
This segment opens with the phrase, ‘So when or so while’. It is placed there to continue the argument that hope and faith in Christ will not make us ashamed or disappoint and to elaborate on why Christ, God in human flesh (John 1: 14), would die for us thus reconciling us back to Holy God. But I don’t want to focus on those ideas today… ‘the why’. Because I am more interested in ‘the who’ that God died to save… for by looking at ‘the who’, we can see, I can see the nature and mind of God… to know God’s thoughts and His character and why I, we don’t have to fear disappointment or shame by choosing to follow Christ.
In this verse it says Christ died for us when:
We were weak, sick, feeble, deprived of strength due to disease, in the throes of death and utterly devoid of the means to extricate ourselves from the misery of our situation…we were utterly and completely helpless. We may not feel weakened, piney and puny, but if we have sin or guilt covering us… what measures do we have to clean it off. What is sin? The bible calls sin, chatta’ah, translated “to lose the path” or “to miss the mark.” Its when we fail to live up to God’s standard: to be holy as He is holy. Works or our actions won’t clean, can’t atone or cause us holy… How can we face a Holy and perfect God? We can’t.
So in our fall from God, we are without strength; we have lost our spiritual standing… lost the image of God, which is righteousness and true holiness, in which we were created, making us ungodly, spiritually dead, dead to God.
We have lost our strength to do good, we have lost all power to worship God aright. Our mind, which was made for God is no longer His residence and we are alone. Moreover, being alone and without any of Gods’ goodness- ungodly, we have lost our center of rest…our happiness. In this state, we go about seeking rest, but find none. And what we have lost in losing God, we seek in earthly things, thus continually missing the mark and multiplying sins against our Maker.
And in our striving to reach God, we became His enemies; sin indulged, increases in strength; evil acts engender fixed and rooted habits; the mind and body now poisoned with sin, increases in averseness from good; and mere aversion produces enmity; and enmity towards ourselves leads to hate of our Maker and His service.
What torment of soul? What irony. We live in soul anguish longing for the One we so desperately hate…
But then, God. God comes to rescue. So while… So when we were still sinners, ungodly, alone, tormented and twisted, covered in evil, and an enemy to God, God comes.
Why would God come… why rescue? “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die”… It doesn’t make sense…
If you think about it… there are four types of people in the world.
There are those who say, “what is mine, is mine; and what is yours, is yours.” These are those who are considered ‘the just’. They give to every man his due.
There are others who say, “what is mine, is yours; and what is yours, is mine.” These are those who are generous and expect generosity in return
There are yet others who say, “what is mine, is yours; and what is yours, is yours”. These ones who give up all for the benefit of their neighbor.
Then there are those who say, “What is mine, is mine; and what is yours, is mine.” These are the ones, who take all, and give nothing.
Realistically, who would die for this last person? There is nothing amiable in his life or conduct that would endear us to him or to cause us to risk our life to save such a person. But it is for these in the last group, that God comes. So what does this mean?
This is the work of God… the rescue of God…. It is the irony of God, that while we were still enemies, God became as in the movie… Enemy mine.