The Sons of Anarchy on FX has quickly, and I mean quickly, become my favorite TV show of all time. So much so that I’ve been googling things like “biker gang slang” and “tips on dating bikers” in my spare time (just being brutally honest – judge me at your own discretion).
It may come as a surprise that this girl, who can spend 12 hours at a mall and not bat an eyelash, would be ga-ga over a show that sees more dead bodies an episode than your local morgue in a week; but– I have fallen, and fallen hard. Like “10 episodes in the past three days” kind of hard. And not just over Charlie Hunnam’s beautiful blue eyes.
Though Sons of Anarchy is a perfect cocktail of dark humor, unforgettable characters, Jack-Bauer-intense plot lines and handsome men–I couldn’t, until today, explain why I was sucked into the show SO much. Dexter didn’t do this for me. Or CSI. Or Grey’s or LOST or any of the other dramas I’ve followed for the past few years. SOA was different. I became a junkie overnight.
This new fever for biker drama coincided with a fantastic retreat I got to go on with my Mom yesterday in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and I was definitely a little peeved that I couldn’t lay in bed for an hour and get in the next episode of SOA on Netflix before we left. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to some quiet time in the woods to spend time with Jesus and away from my iPhone.
I had a sinking feeling that He (Jesus) would want to talk to me about Sons of Anarchy at the retreat. Not because watching a TV show is some sort of horrid moral crime, but I could tell there was something about the amount of time I’d been spending watching this show that was causing a rift in our relationship–and I wasn’t sure why. I felt convicted about it, and I knew It was coming between me and my desire to spend time with the Lord.
The Holy Spirit had been bringing to my mind this verse from James: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
TV can be like a lot of things–beer, food, or time spent with people who you love but who may not be the best influence on you: good in the right circumstances and quantities–sin in others. The past few days I had clearly been violating what I know to be my personal limit with the volume of graphic TV I can watch. My brain was spending too much time on Charlie Hunnam and too little time on the face of God and I knew it. So that, for me, was sin.
And I was pissed to have to admit this. The last thing I wanted to do was give up watching my new favorite TV show.
I sat on the deck of the retreat lodge overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bible and journal open.
“Jesus,” I wrote. “I’m sorry I’ve been putting Sons of Anarchy before You. I’m sorry for ignoring You–for being off in my heart these past few days.” It may have been the first prayer about Sons of Anarchy that the Good Lord has ever heard.
What happened next shouldn’t have surprised me, but it still wasn’t what I expected.
I felt Jesus look at me, in grace and kindness and love, like he always does (if you ever experience condemnation from Jesus, you’re not experiencing Jesus!). “Why do you think that you like that show so much?” He asked my heart.
I thought about it. Not the kind of thinking you do in your head, but the kind where you let the Holy Spirit excavate things deep inside your heart. I realized that this show was more than just a way to fill my spare time–I was so involved emotionally in it because it was waking up a desire in me that had been placed in me all along–and I’m not talking about the desire to don leather pants and hop on the back of a Harley. I realized in that moment that what made this show so addicting for me is the idea of someone fighting for someone that he loves.
Charlie Hunnam’s character, Jax, kicks ass on behalf of his true love, Tara, his brothers in the MC, his mom, and anyone else he has close to his heart in the town of Charming. Watching someone go all out getting bloodied and bruised on behalf of someone else is not only inspiring from a distance, it’s something I realized I was deeply wanting in my own life. I was longing for someone to come fight for me that way. To pursue me. To want to spend time with me. To stand up for me. To protect me. After a couple dead-ends with guys and some major life-shifts, I realized how I’d actually been feeling pretty abandoned in the past few months. It’s like the enemy had scratched this glaring lie across my heart: “un-fought-for.”
It was a lie Jesus was longing to heal. This talk with Him was clearly going deeper than my infatuation with SAMCRO.
“Molly,” I heard The Lord say to me, “I have always fought for you.”
Before I could pout and respond that “I didn’t feel like” that was true, the spirit brought to my mind image after image of Jesus going through the crucifixion. I saw His half-naked body bloodied and bruised, His skin sunken and torn from the whips of Roman soldiers. To them, Jesus was an outlaw. He was an absolute radical. And He had come to earth to take back those He loved from the grip of death. He had taken on the eternal torment of the world–with me in mind. He had surely fought for me.
I felt the scar in my heart–”un-fought-for”–flood with the love of Jesus Christ. In its wake came the memories of the redemption of my family, the redemption of my own heart, and the gifts that Jesus continues to supply me. The evidence that He is fighting for not only me, but my family as well, is all over my life.
Maybe Jesus and Jax Teller have more in common than I thought.
Maybe it was a dad who never encouraged you, a sibling who didn’t stand up for you, or a guy who took no more initiative in pursuing you than a Republican working on medicaid expansion–but whatever the situation was in which you were un-fought-for, it wasn’t intended to mark you. The desire deep in your heart to have someone fight for you is legitimate. Its one that was always meant to be fulfilled.
Deuteronomy 20 says: God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win.
The truth is that Jesus is fighting for you, has fought for you, and He has won.
After this time with The Lord this weekend, yes, I’ve decided to cut back on the SOA watching. My eyes need to be on Jesus and not Charlie Hunnam (gorgeous though he may be). More importantly however, my view of Jesus has changed. I’m seeing Him less as the “nice guy” with the shepherd’s staff on the sideline and more like the man that He actually is: someone who is strong, and courageous and not afraid to take a hit for the people that He loves. Jax Teller may get covered in blood for the town of Charming, but Jesus got covered in blood for me. He fought for me then and He fights for me still. Never will I be someone un-fought for, for all of my days.