Are You Like the Godfather?

michael_corleoneLast week the big story on television was that it was Shark Week. However for me, this week is even better. On AMC it is Mob Week. I have a weakness for movies about the Mafia. Has Hollywood put out anything better than The Godfather (I and II)?

Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, as The Godfather is a great character study for how many of us have attempted to live our lives. I have in mind a particular section of the first movie. In this scene Michael Corleone is standing at the baptismal font in a Catholic church. As his sister’s child is being baptized, Corleone is serving as an actual godfather to the child.

While he is engaged in this “Christian” act, he is simultaneously committing murder. At the church he affirms, “I renounce Satan and his works.” Yet at the same time, his henchmen are slaughtering all of his enemies.

This is a clear illustration of a duplicitous man. Corleone has one life that affirms and acts Christian. But he has another life that is doing the very works of the devil that he verbally renounced.

While we might not be guilty of mass murder, I imagine that some of us have been just as guilty of duplicity. I know that I have. It pains me that while affirming Christ, I have often lived another life that gave no indication of such knowledge. This is a tragedy of the first order.

James had this to say about the instability of such a man,

He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

–James 1:8, ESV

One of the problems of leading a double life is that they are bound to collide at some point. For Michael Corleone that moment came when he realized that his brother-in-law was an enemy who had to go the way of his other enemies. As he tried to draw a confession from his brother-in-law, he told him that he would not be killed. He asked this question, “Do you think I would make my sister a widow?”

Corleone faced his two lives in this encounter. In his good life, Corleone was all about family. In his evil life, he was about eliminating enemies. So when a family member became an enemy, Corleone let the evil side trump the good side.

Gratefully, we have the example of Simon Peter. He had boldly asserted that he would never desert Jesus even if everybody else deserted him. Yet, hours later we know that Peter thrice denied that he even knew Jesus.

But Jesus extended grace to Peter and restored him. Jesus told Peter upon his restoration that he was to feed the sheep of Jesus. The giving of this divine grace to Peter transformed him into the bold apostle that we read about in the book of Acts.

Do you need to beseech God for that same grace? Have you been guilty of living a double life? The Godfather is a good movie, but not a good role model.