This one’s about AMC’s smash TV series “Breaking Bad” — the most Christian Hollywood production since Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” (Not surprisingly, both were big hits!)
It may seem counterintuitive that a TV show about a meth cook could have a conservative theme, much less a Christian one, but that’s because people think Christian movies are supposed to have camels — or a “Little House on the Prairie” cast. Read the Bible! It’s chockablock with gore, incest, jealousy, murder, love and hate.
Because the Bible tells the truth, the lessons are eternal — which also marks the difference between great literature and passing amusements. Recall that even Jesus usually made his points with stories.
The sweet, soulful druggie on “Breaking Bad,” Jesse Pinkman, illustrates — heartbreakingly — the monumental importance of the cross. Believing he is responsible for his girlfriend Jane’s death by overdose, Jesse goes to some godless hippie rehab center. Naturally, he is still unable to forgive himself.
Perfectly rationally, he concludes: “I learned it in rehab. It’s all about accepting who you really are. I accept who I am. … I’m the bad guy.” He returns to cooking meth. Mayhem, murder and disaster ensue.
There’s only one thing in the world that ever could have allowed Jesse to forgive himself: The understanding that God sent his only son to die for Jesse’s sins, no matter how abominable. To not forgive himself after that would be an insult to God, dismissing what Jesus did on the cross as not such a big deal.
The meth cook’s wife, Skyler, illustrates why Scripture instructs us to flee evil and admonishes: “You shall have no other gods before me.” When Skyler discovers her husband is a meth cook, she stays with him, despite hating him for what he’s done. Eventually she becomes his partner in crime. It worked out badly for her.
The only explanation for Skyler’s decision to stay is that she still loves Walt and — as she tells her divorce lawyer — she is desperate to prevent her son from finding out his father is a meth cook. Her husband and son have become her “gods,” whom she values more than the one true God.
In such cases, Jesus does not mince words: “And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”