Friday, June 17, 2011

The Gospel According to Army Wives - Part One

I'm a fan of the Lifetime drama, Army Wives. My friend, Julie, introduced me to this show a few seasons ago and was my primer to understanding all the Army lingo as she is a real Army wife herself. Now, you might read "Lifetime drama" and have a pre-conceived idea in your head about the tawdry, awful show this surely must be. But, I have to admit that this show is not your normal Lifetime fare of kidnappings, love triangles, soppy love stories and the like. This truly is one of my favorite dramas on television. The most recent season just came to an end, much to my dismay, but towards the end of this season, there were a couple of story lines that truly showcased the gospel. Since I'm accused of seeing Jesus in everything, I couldn't resist writing about this and making it a two-part series.

The division that is featured on this show was deployed earlier this season. One of the best episodes ever was one about a fallen soldier that was the son of Frank and Denise...Frank, an LTC in his son's division. That episode should win an Emmy...but I digress. While the division was deployed, Roxy, the wife of Sergeant Trevor, went against her husband's wishes and invested in a venture to build a truck stop in the town. Though Roxy's actions were out of a fear of Trevor being killed in combat, leaving her with two young sons to support, she and Trevor had many an argument via the phone across the seas because she refused to listen to Trevor's counsel on the topic. She ended up investing in the truck stop and hiring a contractor from her past....the father of her youngest son. Not the smartest move on her part as their past together was quite interesting. Whit and Roxy were friends, but he never really was a part of their son, Finn's, life. On top of the unwise investment in the truck stop, Roxy wasn't honest with Trevor and didn't tell him Whit was the contractor.

The division was coming home and the job wasn't complete. Now Roxy was going to be faced with having to tell Trevor the truth as he would see that she went against his wishes and invested in the truck stop and had Whit there as the main contractor. The age old problem of "your sins will find you out." Needless to say, Roxy was in a mess. Life wasn't good between her and Trevor. So much so it was affecting Trevor's performance and their marriage was clearly on the rocks. Prior to this deployment, Trevor and Roxy were one of the cutest couples on the show, so seeing their marriage and trust crumbling was very disheartening.

Roxy did what many of us do when we're in a pickle...she sought counsel from a close friend. Denise, who has had her own share of dishonesty in her marriage in the past and turned her life around, was her Army wife of choice. Roxy explained to Denise what she had done, shedding tears of regret and sorrow. Denise calmly looked at her and said "Roxy, you need to see this from your soldier's eyes. You've lied and you've not honored his wishes while he was away. You need to go to him and ask forgiveness for what you've done." I almost did a rewind on my DVR. Denise said what? She just gave Roxy solid marital advice unlike anything you'd typically hear from Hollywood. Denise didn't tell her to exercise her women's rights....or "you make money too, you can do what you want"...or any of that women's lib mumbo jumbo that has caused our society to believe something different than what the Bible teaches us about marriage. No, Denise told Roxy to honor her husband, follow his leadership. She told her that she failed to do that even when he wasn't present, but that whether he was physically there or not, she did wrong and needed to ask for forgiveness.

The show ended with Roxy confessing to Trevor her sin...her lies, her dishonesty. And her regret for doing those things, asking for his forgiveness. The gospel kept on going when Trevor sweetly forgave her and embraced her with a hug and kiss. He didn't condemn her or chastise her for the choices she made. But as a man who is worthy of being followed for sure, he loved her through the pain she had already endured. This forgiveness and mercy hung true in an episode or two later when he encouraged Roxy to bring Whit back to finish the project in a timely fashion. He trusted her and through this act of ongoing mercy was rebuilding a love and trust that had been broken. That persistent and redeeming love that never fails.

When I mess up and don't know how to even confess it to the Lord, I need to remember that He is waiting with open arms to forgive me, love me and wipe away my tears with His Hand of mercy. This is why God uses marriage as His picture of the Gospel. If only all our marriages would reflect the Gospel so clearly as this one little scene from Army Wives, the world would surely see Christ in us.

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