Invictus is a movie about a lot of things. It is a movie about rugby. It is a movie about South Africa. It is a movie about Nelson Mandela. It is a movie about racial tensions, but more than anything else it is a movie about reconciliation. Most people are probably familiar with the story of Mandela and what took place in South Africa. We remember when Mandela was released from prison. We remember when he became president of South Africa. These are momentous events in history, but what is more amazing than these achievements is what took place after them.
For many years the black citizens were oppressed by the white citizens, because of a law known as apartheid. Eventually apartheid was overturned and the black citizens were given the right to vote. Almost overnight the power within the country shifted from the whites to the blacks. The power shifted from the oppressors to the oppressed. For many people this was seen as justice being served. The whites would now receive the cruel treatment they had given the blacks for so many years, but Mandela did not see it this way. He was not interested in revenge. He was interested in reconciliation. He did not want to see his country divided any longer and so he fought to unite it.
The story of reconciliation in South Africa could have been told in several different ways. You could tell the story from the viewpoint of Desmond Tutu and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which he chaired. The movie could have focused more on Mandela and the time he spent in prison, but instead rugby is used to tell this story of reconciliation. In many ways this works well for the film. All the people surrounding Mandela do not understand what he is doing by focusing so much attention on rugby. Even the captain of the rugby team has to contemplate his visit with the president to determine he wants them to win the world cup. Although American audiences are not familiar with rugby we love sports movies and this one includes a powerful message.
I believe this movie should be significant to Christians because of the theme of reconciliation. We often experience problems and division within the Christian community and it should be of value to us to see how Mandela reconciled an entire nation. We should also be interested in reconciliation because it is one of the most important theological terms found in the New Testament. God’s goal for us is reconciliation. He sent His Son to die on the cross so we might be reconciled to him.
Invictus is an entertaining movie, but that is not why I recommend it. I highly recommend this film, because it is a significant story with an important message for everyone.