Guardians of the Galaxy – what does “redemption” actually mean?

The open letter released by the “Guardians of the Galaxy” stars, petitioning Disney to reinstate James Gunn as the director of the third installment of this blockbuster franchise, raises interesting questions about what redemption actually means.

Gunn has admitted posting tweets from 2008-11 in which he joked about the Holocaust, AIDS, rape and paedophilia. The BBC declined to publish all the details but quoted two: “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.” and “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like, ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!'”

Now, I don’t think these are just examples of “inappropriate jokes” (as described by Chris Pratt) – they are, in fact, deeply troubling and reflect attitudes that family-friendly Disney understandably wants to completely disown.  It was the right decision to sack Gunn because, as we need to realise and acknowledge, our actions and words have consequences.  I would be more alarmed if we just shrugged and laughed such tweets off as just a bit of risque humour.  They are not.

However, I do believe in redemption.  James Gunn should not be blacklisted or become the latest victim of humanity’s “mob mentality” – he has apologised and is a tremendous talent.  He should be allowed to work on further project, hopefully tackling with wisdom, grace and truth his past misdemeanours and present maturing.  This should not be the end of his story.

Redemption always comes at a cost.  I believe Christ Jesus paid the ultimate “once for all” price on cross, freeing us from the eternal penalty for our sins, our wrong-doing.  When we come to Him in contrition and repentance, He welcomes us with open arms.  Nevertheless, this does not mean he sweeps our transgressions under the carpet – there will still be earthly consequences but, crucially, we can change and overcome through the power of His Holy Spirit.  We can grow beyond our, often self-inflicted, wounds because of His amazing grace.

I hope Disney will stand by their decision to sanction Gunn and I pray that more people will see what redemption really means.