The Terminator is one of the most violent and popular movies of the 1980s. The film that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name and gave us the phrase “I’ll be back” is packed with just about all the action an 80s film could muster and still have a followable plot. It also has several uses of some pretty serious profanity.
So it might be surprising to hear that The Terminator contains a scene which remarkably displays a Biblical principle related to love.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he writes in verse 25 of Chapter 5,
“Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (KJV)
That’s a pretty tall order, and in many relationships this is where trouble begins.
Consider what Jesus sacrificed for the church. He traded perfect place, perfect time, and perfect existence for a temporary life in a world filled with darkness and cruelty, finally ended by taking upon Himself every rotten, dirty sin of mankind.
And though husbands are instructed to love our wives in like manner, many of us are unwilling to even give up a Saturday round of golf for our other half.
What many fail to miss in this passage – but which those who succeed here can testify is true – is that a husband’s sacrificial love for his wife can help her to become a stronger woman than she ever knew possible.[Enter The Terminator.]
Futuristic soldier Kyle Reese is sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor, the woman whose son will someday save mankind from destruction. The early portrayal of Sarah is a feminist’s nightmare: a physically weak girly-girl who waits tables for a living. For the first half of the movie she can do nothing to help herself; she is completely dependent upon Reese for survival.
But midway through we find the movie’s pivotal scene. In that scene, Sarah struggles to understand the world that Reese left and the fact that he left it for her. As they talk, the hardened soldier finally opens up.
“I came across time for you, Sarah. I love you. I always have.”
His words hit the mark, and of course the obligatory love scene follows. But more important, from that point on Sarah Connor begins to realize the incredible responsibility ahead of her. She takes a more active role in her own protection, becoming less dependent on Reese as the movie heads toward its close. At one point the previously helpless Sarah actually orders Reese to his feet and helps him stagger away from danger. She has begun the journey toward a potential she never realized lay inside of her- all because of the love that Reese has shown her.
And this is the message Paul was trying to get across to us. So long as we focus on ourselves the marital relationship can never realize its potential. The twin sins of “I’ll never submit to a man” and “I’m not going to give up what I want for her” rob a marriage of its power. The two may share a home and a bed, but they’ll never truly become one until each becomes zero in favor of the other. It is the example given us by Christ, and it is the path that can take your marriage to a height you never dreamed possible.
It is worth noting that shortly after this verse, we see instruction for raising children and then later for becoming a soldier in the fight against our spiritual enemy. The timing of these passages is no accident; raising a Godly family and fighting the good fight both become impossible if the spousal foundation is lacking.
To my fellow men out there reading – the question in your mind shouldn’t be why you should have to give up what you want for her. Instead you should be asking yourself, “Why am I unwilling to do so?”
And to my lovely Valentine of 26 years – I’d go across time for you. I love you. I always have.