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Despicable Me 2 and the gospel of Jesus Christ

Hannah, my older daughter who turns ten today, loves the Despicable Me movies. Since I’ve spent some quality time with her watching the sequel a few (what seems to be a dozen) times and laughing along with her, it has occurred to me that there are actually some deeper Christian aspects within this latest movie featuring Gru and his lovable minions. The plot centers on the once-villainous Gru who is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to go undercover to find a mastermind behind the theft of a serum that turns people into indestructible purple monsters. Let’s now consider Despicable Me 2 and what it might have to do with the Christian life.

First, there’s the change. As stated before, Gru has given up his evil ways. This is illustrated in the opening of the movie when he goes to great lengths to give the best birthday party to his youngest daughter. The change in Gru occurred in the first movie when his heart was won by his newly adopted daughters Margo, Edith, and Agnes. It was then that Gru realized life was more than being the top villain and pulling off the greatest crime of all time (stealing the moon!). Because of his new-found love for his daughters, Gru has stopped thinking merely of himself and he’s discovered a new life serving his new loves. This change is similar to what every believer in Jesus Christ experiences, for when a human life is born, it is born in the darkness of sin, totally self-centered and naturally rebellious towards God. It is only when the person encounters Jesus Christ and hears and receives the gospel that a life is changed, being brought out of darkness and into God’s marvelous light and “set free from sin, (and) have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18, English Standard Version). It’s when a believer believes and receives Christ’s sacrifice in his/her place that a new love develops for Jesus and he/she experiences a change, from evil to good. Because Jesus has gone to the cross, He has become the pearl of great price for which a believer is willing to give up everything in order to purchase.

Next, there’s the choice. After discovering the villain behind the theft of the monstrous serum, Gru is offered the opportunity to become his partner in ruling the world. Choices come every day for the Christian too, whether to follow Jesus and continue down the narrow road that leads to life or to take the wide road leading to destruction. Jesus assured His disciples that “temptations to sin are sure to come” (Luke 17:1, ESV). This is why Christians are to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (Ephesians 6:11, 1 Peter 5:8, ESV). To do this, Christians must be up for the challenge and choose God’s way and not our own. After he had led God’s people to take the Promised Land and he was nearing his death, Joshua also challenged them to make a similar choice. He said, “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15, ESV). Gru chose to turn away from temptation; followers of Jesus are to do the same.

Finally, there’s the call. After some very dear to Gru are turned into monsters by the serum, he goes to the rescue and eventually has the antidote to return them back to as they were meant to be. The call of the Christian is the same call Jesus had when came as a Baby in Bethlehem: to go into a hostile world and to save those who are lost in sin. The antidote we have is Jesus and the good news that He has come to set people free from sin and death through His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus once met a monster of man who lived among the tomb and was tormented by a legion of demons that caused him to be able to break any chain that was intended to subdue him. After Jesus met the man’s need, the man was found sitting and “in his right mind” (Mark 5:15, ESV). The Christian is to bring the same Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, to this hostile and monstrous world. The apostle Paul, who, like the fictitious Gru, was someone changed by love and knew something of choosing good over evil, spoke to early Christians of not only the change but also the of the call of Christians. He said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20, ESV). Implore people today to receive this antidote today and every day.

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