A few nights ago, I went with some dear friends to a movie in an independent-movie hub in my city. I am thankful for such a theater, who is willing to show films that are hard to watch, ones which the viewers do not leave with the go-lucky-Saturday-night-movie mentality. Movies which are done with the motive, not of money, but rather, an expose of sorts. I salute the filmmakers for their bravery.
The Stoning of Soraya M, was just that. A stoning. It took place in Iran, and was completely in Farci, the beautiful Iranian language. In quick summation, Soraya was married to an evil man, who one day, all the sudden, “tired” of her. He had his sights set on another woman. However, in the Arab culture, even he had to jump through some hoops before he could get what he wanted.
After he forced her to take a job doing chores for another man, he then accused her of sleeping with the other man…a crime punishable by death by stoning in this rural Iranian, Islamic culture. She was, of course, innocent. She was a beautiful woman, a strong woman, who loved her children very much. He accused her… and in correlation with the law, she had to prove her innocence, rather than he prove her guilt. The male elders did not believe her story, when put up against a mans. And thus, sentenced her to die, by perhaps one of the most painful deaths imaginable.
The filmmakers did not spare their viewers any mercy. They showed everything. Every gruesome detail. The men came to get her, they buried her up to her waist. Then they let her father cast the first stone. He missed.
It is at this point, where I started weeping. Why? Because inside, I was BEGGING for someone to come save her. Her female friends were trying to save her. They couldn’t. No one would listen. I ached for someone, a foreigner or villager, to realize the evil that was happening, and step in to save her.
At this moment, I was reminded of the Christ. When a crowd was gathered to STONE a woman caught in adultery, he stepped in front of her. And wrote in the dust. Then said…”you who are without sin, cast the first stone.” Her accusers dissipated. They had no foundation on which to stay and carry out that hell.
Then Jesus said one of the most beautiful things in the New Testament to this woman. “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
He saved her life by stepping in front of her. This means SO MUCH MORE, now that I’ve seen The Stoning of Soraya M. Nobody stepped in for Soraya. She was, in every way, brutally murdered. This movie is a true story.
God forgive us, for our evil actions. For we do not have the power over life.
May we begin to see what Jesus really did for us. I think if we really knew, if we really knew what it was like to literally be murdered by large slabs of rock being catapulted at our heads over and over again, till we bled out… if we really knew this… perhaps we would not be so reluctant to emulate Christ’s love.