I really like the movie “The Fugitive.” I know what you are thinking: “What’s not to like?”
It has a unusually unkempt Harrison Ford, tough man Tommy Lee Jones, evil pharmaceutical companies (all apologies to my brother who works for a major pharmaceutical company) in bed with evil heart surgeons, it has guns, ambulances, trains, fake id’s, a one-armed man, prosthetics, and lines such as the following:
Deputy Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones): “Alright, listen up, people. Our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 4 miles-per-hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive’s name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him.”
You are right. What’s not to like?
Quick plot summary for those who have not seen the movie or need a brief refresher. Dr. Richard Kimble’s wife was killed by a one-armed man. Kimble was framed and then convicted of the murder. While being transported to prison, Kimble’s bus is involved in an accident with a train thus allowing him to escape. From that point on, he tries to solve his wife’s murder and clear his name while being pursued by the relentless U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Kimble (Harrison Ford, not to be confused with Detective John Kimble from another classic, Kindergarten Cop) heads into the tunnel of the dam thus prompting Gerard to say “We got a gopher”. Classic.
Anyway, Kimble has managed to steal an ambulance, but Gerard is hot on his trail. As he enters the tunnel, he realizes that both the entrance and exit are cut off by pursuing authorities. His only option is to ditch the ambulance and climb down into the drainage tunnel.
Kimble manages to wander through the tunnel and evade the marshals until he ends up at the place where the water flows out from the tunnel. The only problem is that it is a few hundred feet drop into the icy river below. About that time Gerard catches up and levels his gun at Kimble. What to do. If he returns with Gerard then he will be taken captive. Therefore, for the sake of his name, for the sake of his freedom, for love of his wife, Kimble turns and does a “Peter Pan right off this dam.” (That means that he jumped).
I thought of this scene while I was recently reading 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 in which Paul admonishes the Corinthians to “flee sexual immorality.” The Greek word (the language in which the Scriptures were originally written) for “flee” is feugete which is a source for our English word “fugitive.” The Lord is telling the readers of the text not merely to abstain from immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5), but also to flee, escape, run away, take flight from it.
Sexual immorality is a sin and no sin is to be taken lightly. It desires to master us (Genesis 4:7), to enslave us, to dominate and own us. How stupid would we think Kimble was if he would have started each day by grabbing a cup of coffee and then heading off to the U.S. Marshals’ office in Chicago and engaging in a stealthy game of “ding dong ditch” or “hot or cold” with Gerard. What if instead of discreetly burrowing down into his jacket when a police car cruised by, he would have jumped in front, banged on the hood and yelled, “I’m Dr. Richard Kimble, a convicted felon on the lam, just try to catch me!”
But don’t we have a tendency to do that very thing all the time when it comes to sin. We hang around and give opportunity to the very thing which has the potential and desire to captivate and enslave us. We convince ourselves that we will only check the sports scores when we get on our computer at midnight; we tell ourselves that a second glance is acceptable; we justify spending the night; we rationalize physical intimacy as long as it isn’t “going all the way”; we watch certain movies; and on and on.
Are we really willing to take the dive off the dam instead of facing incarceration? Are we so opposed to the prospect of sinning against a Holy God that we would rather face the icy waters below than the risk of being handcuffed and let back to prison? Are we clever and dedicated like Kimble or are we the caricatured version who thinks it is fun to taunt and trivialize the authorities?
The Bible says to “flee sexual immorality.” Be Harrison Ford.