The intention of the movie Not Today to inform our minds and awaken our hearts to the enormous global injustice of human trafficking was noble and heroic. We hope and pray that many will be stirred into action from this film.
Unfortunately the dichotomy between the Biblical message of social justice and that of the evangelical view of ultimate justice by way of an eternal hell detracts from the impact of Not Today. Even when viewed by Christians I believe there was a sense of uneasiness as they subconsciously tried to reconcile two opposing messages communicated within the same film.
The first message is that all persons are made in the image of God and are worthy of equal standing and freedom before Him. It is that God hates human enslavement and wants His people to do everything in their power to abolish this heinous evil in His world.
This is intertwined with the second message: that God has an eternity in hell prepared for most of His image-bearers portrayed in this movie because, on account of being Hindu, they will not possess “saving faith” in Jesus Christ before they die.
The inconsistencies manifest themselves when you ask yourself how is it this privileged American kid after growing up hearing the gospel and rejecting it gets to take this extravagant trip to India where he is given yet another chance to believe in the true God? This is contrasted against the millions of souls in India entrapped in poverty, lies and darkness who, if not evangelized and “accept Jesus,” will spend eternity in hell.
This goes for the perpetrators of humans trafficking as well as the victims. Will they be tormented forever without end for their sins? This then stirs up the question: Is true justice punitive or restorative? (For more on this see Justice=Righteousness)
Though many Christians may not be able to articulate the reason for their ambivalence about this film I believe they are sensing this juxtaposition of two contradicting views of God’s justice. It makes God two and not one. In watching this film the theology of our hearts and the theology in our heads collide.
Again, we wish this movie well for the sake of the overarching message that these children bear the very image of God and deserve this clarion call to rescue them, the “least of these.” We pray our hearts reign above “the traditions of men” to see that, like the lost coin, these people of India stamped with His image never lose their value just because they are lost. Even the perpetrators who are also lost imply by their lostness that they belong to Someone and have a home. True justice will plead and tarry for the children to be rescued but also for their perpetrators to come to their senses in this far country–to be restored in their “right-useness” and to “right-relationship” with their Father who is the Father of both the lost and the least. For the “least of these My brothers” included both the children (the poor) and the perpetrators (the imprisonable).
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