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Insurgent: a movie review

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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Shailene Woodley as Beatrice 'Tris' Prior breaks through a glass box, in a scene with Kate Winslet, who plays Jeanine Matthews, in the new Summit Entertainment production, The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Credit: Summit Entertainment)

{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/suZcGoRLXkU?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source}Insurgent is the second movie in the Divergent trilogy based on the books of the same name by Veronica Roth. The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic society that has been founded on the principle that, to avoid conflict, its citizens will live and work in one of five factions. A person’s faction is decided by the aspect of their nature that is most prominent. Abnegation is for the selfless, Dauntless for the brave, Erudite for the intelligent, Amity for the peaceful, and Candor for the honest.

While most clearly fit into one group, there are some that are capable in a number of areas. These uniquely gifted individuals are called divergents and they are often feared and shunned by the other classes because they don’t fit into the system. The film’s protagonist, Tris Prior, is one such person. The series centers on her struggles in understanding her place in society.

In the first film, Tris and her friends fought their way out of a plot engineered by the Erudite class. In the process, Tris was forced to kill one of her former friends who had attempted to stop her. She also holds herself responsible for the deaths of family members. Insurgent revolves around her attempts to deal with the sense of guilt stemming from those losses and the fear that all those she cares about will suffer a similar fate. As if that wasn’t enough, she must attempt to process those feelings while also trying to stop yet another Erudite attempt at taking control of society.

While there are other themes and angles to the story’s plot, they pale in significance to that of Tris’ unresolved guilt. Throughout the movie, it both hinders her and motivates her. Her fear that those around her will suffer becomes a reality as her actions and her attempts to drive them away only place them in greater peril. It is not until she finds peace in accepting the forgiveness that was always available but never acknowledged that she is able to do what is necessary to stop the Erudites and set her society free.

The impact of guilt and our need for forgiveness are common themes in scripture as well. Like Tris, each of us has things in our past that have the potential to greatly limit our future. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In John 10:10, Jesus says that he has “come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

In Christ we can know the kind of true and limitless forgiveness that leads to abundant life. But before you can experience it, you have to receive it and that requires that you are willing to forgive yourself as well. As C. S. Lewis once wrote, “If God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”

God is ready and willing to forgive every last one of your mistakes. Are you?