I wrote in the above link, Part II of this series, about the part O’Brien played in the miscarriage of Lord Grantham’s only son in Season One of Downton Abbey.
In Part I of this series, I wrote about Thomas, described by Mrs. Patmore as a tortured soul, but known to everyone else as the show’s main villain and schemer.
I actually think it would be the most fun of all, as an actor or actress, to play Thomas or O’Brien. The sheer evil of their actions sometimes must make it very challenging to play them, and rewarding when the performances are top drawer, as they always are.
Their value to us, as I started to point out yesterday, is that they confront us with the heart of evil in us all. Not all of us break the law and not all of us do things that lead to someone’s death. But all of us have broken God’s law and all of us did things that led to the death of the Holy Son of God.
So, if we are truthful, we have to move away from the idea that Thomas and O’Brien are “over there outside of us” and realize that we have some of their same murderous impulses inhabiting our own hearts.
But for the grace of God, we would be hopeless.
What else do you think is inside the person who tailgates you at 50 mph on the interstate onramp? That person is not so stupid as to be unaware that you might have to suddenly brake in an onramp, which would lead to a rear-end collision and could lead to your death.
Truly, there is often not much of a difference between the impulses that lead to assault with a deadly weapon charges and the impulses that lead to vehicular manslaughter charges.
When we are running late and weave perilously in and out of traffic at speeds 25 mph higher than what is written, are we not coldly stating that our schedule and our convenience matter more to us than the lives we are possibly endangering? We have done the risk assessment and have decided that it is worth the risk of ending a life or two in order for us to get to where we want to be in a quicker fashion.
Those are only a couple of examples. Any thinking person can come up with myriads more. I shared yesterday how, even at age seven, I could exhibit coldness toward a person who needed my help to keep from falling. Coldness that regarded its own convenience as much more important than the safety of another person. That, my friends, is original sin and it is in us all.
Now here I will end with the good news, of the world of Downton Abbey and of this modern world we inhabit: Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God knew we were hopelessly broken and provided His Own Son to redeem us from sin and from ourselves. By putting our faith in Christ, we can be made a new creation and begin growing to be more like Christ. Praise God for making a way!