Choices Stink!

Choices.

Sometimes they just stink. A few are more serious than others, but we all have to make them.
What to wear…
What profession to pick…
Who to marry…
Where to live or go to school…
Whether to fly into Klingon space and exact revenge against a murderous villain…

Okay, so maybe that last one only applies to the charming Captain James Tiberius Kirk, but you get my point. And while I’m no galaxy-traveling, wisecracking (why are they always wisecracking?), womanizing hero, I can still sympathize with Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness. In a tense but earnest moment toward the climax of the film, Kirk tells Mr. Spock  “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, only what I can do.”

Nothing I have ever faced is as terrifying as the prospect of being blown to pieces in space, but I can understand how easy it is to become paralyzed by the many choices before you; to do nothing because the chances of screwing up are too great. But, for all his obvious faults and rule-bending, Kirk demonstrates a willingness to make a decision and go with it, even if he doesn’t know what the outcome will be, and even if it means he might end up… dead?

Yeah, sometimes choices stink.

And the consequences? Uh-oh.

From the very first scene, it is apparent that Kirk is still… Captain Kirk. Assuming full-time command of the Enterprise after the last film hasn’t made him mature much, or made him want to follow the rules when they don’t suit him. Oh, it’s clear he has read the rule book, but it seems as though he only did it so he could know how to bend them.

And when he gets called out on it, stripped of his rank and sent back to the Academy, he is floored.

Consequences? Punishment? What are they?

It isn’t until the loss of his only real father figure, Captain Pike – the only man able to effectively challenge Kirk’s attitude – that Kirk begins to exhibit any growth of character. And, in what I considered a weighty moment, it is Kirk’s conscience and character – traits he possessed but needed nurtured by men like Captain Pike – that causes him to spare the life of John Harrison, a man he was ordered to execute without remorse and who he very much wanted revenge against. And then he finds out Harrison just haaaapens to hold the key to unraveling many of Kirk’s lingering questions about Star Fleet. Huh? And who might even save Kirk’s life? But then turns out to be the super villain Khan?

Revenge. Justice. Life. Death.

Yeah, I can imagine Kirk saying, choices definitely…  stink. I just wanted a cool ship to play around in, not all this baggage that comes with it…

Of course, Kirk’s decision to save Harrison’s life opens a whole new host of problems for him, mainly in the form of a general ready to blow the Enterprise out of the sky. Then, in a surprisingly genuine moment, Kirk pleads for the life of his crew, offering his own to save theirs. He takes full responsibility for what was his decision to disobey orders, and his decision alone. It is a humble, apologetic side of Kirk we have not previously seen in the rebooted series.

Ultimately, Kirk is faced with the hardest choice any of us could think to make – but one the film shows was as clear cut as night and day for him: sacrifice his own life to save the Enterprise and all its crew, or doom them all? He chooses to sacrifice his own life without missing a beat.

Which leads me to my point in all this…

Kirk made a whole lot of choices in Star Trek Into Darkness. Some of them were good, some of them were bad. Some of them were downright awful. But regardless of the consequences, regardless of the outcome, he faced them all and grew. Well, until the climax. Then he was just dead.

But… wait! Kahn’s blood can save people, right? (Hooray for convenient plot twists!)

While I would consider it blasphemy to compare a nasty, sinister character like Khan to Jesus, I could not ignore the illustration of just what the blood of another can do to our choices.

Every single choice Kirk had made on that mission led up to his death… but every single choice he had made was redeemed by the blood of another.

We have another advantage too. Kirk did not know what his final outcome would be when he went into the reactor. He’s definitely a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kind of guy, who never considered the possibility of a second chance at life. As a believer and child of God though, we know. We know His plans are for our good. That HE is good. So whether we know or don’t know what we’re supposed to do, instead of being paralyzed by fear or inactivity or the overwhelming significance of the choice, we can be confident in Him, and confident that even if our choices lead to circumstances we couldn’t foresee or that look bad, they can and will be redeemed by the blood of Jesus when we rely on Him.

Kirk had made the right choice, the honorable choice, but it turned out wrong. That didn’t matter though, because the blood brought life and turned everything around.

That’s not to say we can do whatever we want without consequence. If you watch the film, Kirk made a whole lot of stupid decisions that led to his initial demotion and he definitely needed correction and guidance. He needed to grow up. But isn’t it wonderful that, like Captain Pike did, our Heavenly Father is still willing to pull us aside after we screw up and say “Hey, I love you. I believe in you. You are still My choice to do what I planned for you to do. I will make a way for you to get another opportunity.”?

Maybe choices aren’t so awful after all. But, if they aren’t,  it’s all because of the blood….

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14

 

 

~

Star Trek Into Darkness
Paramount 2013
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Bruce Greenwood and a whole lot of other wonderful actors
IMDb Page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1408101/?ref_=hm_cht_t3

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