I found myself watching an old film, Six Days Seven Nights, on a recent morning when I did something I don’t do on mornings – watch television.
I have seen this movie before, and it is entertaining as is; a career woman vacationing on a Pacific island with her fiancé fly to another island for a work emergency while her intended stays behind. The plane crashes, and Robin (Anne Heche) is marooned with the crotchety Quinn (Harrison Ford). Over six days and seven nights, they must depend on each other to survive, lose the pirates chasing them across the island, and make the plane flyable again. During that span, they move from sniping and carping non-stop to respecting, cooperating with, and loving each other with honor for her prior commitment. Frank the fiancé – using his fear (she has been missing but days) that Robin is dead as excuse – sleeps with Angelica, the very sexy island beauty. When Robin returns alive, he tries to make the island girl responsible for his moral compass by telling her – repeatedly – that he has been “bad…very very bad” and waiting for her to convince him he is not. When that does not make him feel better, he confesses to Robin, who breaks off the engagement. With her commitment to Frank blasted by Frank himself, she and Quinn come together. Before my most recent viewing, I enjoyed the film without realizing how prophetic it is.
The film features two partnered men and women. (Angelica has a casual relationship with Quinn at the beginning.) Both men and both women are seriously tempted to sleep with the one who does not belong to them. Quinn and Robin acknowledge their feelings – and the likelihood their stay on the island is forever – and yet remain honorable simply because their word means something to them. Angelica and Frank do what feels good at the moment, albeit one amorally and the other with guilt. The film ends with Angelica and Frank alone, while the pair who honor commitments come together and – presumably – live happily ever after.
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In both cases, it is the men who cast the deciding vote. Angelica offers herself to Frank as he stands in the open door to her room. He leaves, citing his commitment to Robin, but wakes in her bed – admitting he cursed himself each of the multiple times he made love to her the previous night. He is the one who has chosen. Likewise, Robin admits her longing for Quinn, who tells her he will not dishonor her or her commitment – and that settles the matter. It does not come up again while they are on the island because he has chosen.
Men and women are made to complement one another; neither is subordinate, and this is clear from Genesis to Ephesians. The Hebrew word we tend to translate as “helpmate” to describe Eve actually conveys “one who can look him in the face”; a more egalitarian meaning is not conceivable. The narrative about mutual submission of wives and husbands – not limited to Ephesians 5 – offers simply gender-appropriate ways to submit, one through obedience and the other through sacrifice of self interest. Conceptually, men are made to protect and support women; women are made to nurture and encourage men. There is nothing in scripture or human nature to preclude women from accepting whatever calling – at whatever level of responsibility – they are given. But it is the men who are called to be responsible for choosing and implementing a healthy covenant between themselves and their wives. That is why Adam comes across as such a jerk when he lamely excuses his defiance of God in the Garden by saying, “The woman made me do it.”
Six Days Seven Nights depicts a man who shoulders his responsibility despite lacking a conceptual framework for it; he is endowed with a God-breathed conscience and wills to flow with it. It also depicts a man endowed with the same conscience who chooses to wimp out when something exciting crosses his path with a come-hither wink. The story ends well for the one who steps up to the plate; not so much for the wimp.
I write frequently about God’s promise of renaissance – a Great Awakening – in this nation and others. I am just as vocal on His call for a season of repentance in His Body the Church as our part in welcoming His promise. By repentance, I understand a progressive re-focus of our attention on God and away from self and self-gratification-because-we-can. For men, that means stepping up to the plate and being men–and not just for fidelity’s sake.
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