Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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by Tom Goodman
April 14, 2010

Schindler's List won seven Academy Awards in 1993, including Best Picture.  It's an account of a German named Oskar Schindler who saved 1200 Jews from Nazi death camps by employing them and bribing Nazi officials to keep them employed.

Who can forget the closing scene of the film as Schindler prepared to leave those he saved?  The war was over and, knowing the Allies would try him as a member of the Nazi party and as the owner of a munitions factory, he planned to flee.  Before he drove away, however, those who owed Schindler their lives surrounded him.  They presented him a ring created from the gold fillings extracted out of the teeth of grateful workers.  On the ring was a Hebrew inscription from the Talmud:  "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire."  The gift and its significance caused Schindler to break down in tears.

It's a moving scene, but in reality it wasn't the last of Oskar Schindler and his ring.  The film doesn't cover a conversation years later, as one of the "Schindler Jews" talked with the old German rescuer.  The survivor pointed to Schindler's naked finger and asked what happened to his gold ring.

 "Schnapps," he shrugged.  He had sold it for booze.

So, which of those two scenarios best captures the real Oskar Schindler?  Would you believe both?  He was a contradiction: a hero who saved lives, and a dissolute womanizer who abandoned his long-suffering wife.  His lack of wisdom and self-discipline caused him to fail in numerous businesses and relationships, and yet a member of the Israeli Supreme Court remembered him as "one of the bravest, finest people."

Oskar Schindler's story is our story, too.  Each person is a contradiction: a hero and a disappointment; the graceful ballerina and the raunchy stripper; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

There are four options for dealing with this truth.  First, we can resist the truth by making excuses for our sins or diminishing the seriousness of them.  Second, we can reassign the blame by pointing to others as the cause of our actions.  Third, we can resign to despair when the first two options prove insufficient.

Or, fourth, we can receive divine forgiveness.  The Bible says, "Christ loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins" (Ephesians 5:2 NLT).

Thank God, because I am Oskar Schindler.  And so are you.


Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored," with its Links to Your World -- interesting and informative links, posted every Tuesday.

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