Watching Your Highlight Reel
After the Games, the victors have to sit and watch a highlight reel—their highlight reel. Katniss and Peeta were fortunate because they didn’t have to face that alone; they had each other. Nevertheless, Katniss felt her heart pounding as she had to relive the arena and every brutal death—those she was responsible for, those she tried to prevent, and those she was mercilessly unaware of the first time.
“During the highlights, they periodically show the winner’s reaction up on a box in the corner of the screen… Some are triumphant, pumping their fists in the air, beating their chests. Most just seem stunned.”
Katniss and Peeta didn’t want to be in that arena. They didn’t want to face the choices they faced. They didn’t want to be responsible for anyone’s death, they didn’t even want to have to witness anyone’s death. All of that was unavoidable, but sitting there watching the film they had to live with it—not just with what happened to them, but with how they responded to what happened to them.
Peeta was right, before the Games, when he contemplated how he would die. He realized he might not have a choice about being in the Games, or even about dying, but he did have the choice to remain himself and not become a monster. Even as he fought for his life, he could still be human, kind, loving, and compassionate. As Katniss put it, “Peeta has been struggling with how to maintain his identity. His purity of self.” Whereas Katniss admittedly (at that time at least), was strictly concerned with survival.
Now, here they are, watching the highlights of the Games, and each of them has to live with their actions, their behavior in the arena. What if Katniss had killed Peeta to survive? What if she had been ruthless? How could she live with that? There are worse things than death as Peeta had been well aware. He knew that he had to live with himself—no matter how short (or long) that life might be.
Peeta was probably not thinking about having to see an actual highlight reel of his life at the time. He didn’t even think he would win the games. Nevertheless, that was the general idea—could he live with himself if he had to watch his life on tape?
It’s a good question for all of us. How would we feel if we had to sit down and watch a highlight reel of our lives…with the whole world watching both the tape and our response? Would we weep for the wrongs we did? Would we be defiant and arrogant? Would we be able to be proud of the decisions we made, because we did what was right, even when it was costly?
Can I tell you that even now your life is probably more like Katniss’ and Peeta’s than you realize? You are, even now, “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” (as they were), therefore, the Bible exhorts us in Hebrews 12:1 to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We are in a battle for our lives, and others are watching. They are watching to see if we do it right, if we maintain our character and identity as “little Christ’s,” no matter what is thrown at us.
The similarities don’t stop there. After it’s all said and done, we’ll have to watch a highlight reel of sorts ourselves. Not that it will be on TV for the world to see, but we will sit there with an infinitely more important audience as HE evaluates our deeds. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says that “We must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” I Corinthians 3:13 cautions that our “work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.”
The good news is you don’t have to sit through that highlight reel alone. Katniss had Peeta, but the Christian has Christ. Christ who died to pay for all your sins. Christ who watches every moment you wish would disappear from that tape and from your life, and who lovingly whispers to you, “It’s OK, It’s over now. I’ve paid for that. You are forgiven.”
Questions for Discussion:
- How would you feel about having to watch your life’s highlight video—one that showed it all, not just the “good” parts?
- Do you feel as if your deeds are done in secret? Or do you live with the realization that you have an audience?
- How would it change the way you lived if your life was being filmed and watched by millions of people?
- Is it scary to think that your actions will be judged?
- How can you live in such a way that you can watch that highlight video with confidence, knowing that you have maintained your identity, no matter what life threw at you?
- Is it comforting to know that you don’t have to watch that reel, or face that judgment alone? Is it comforting to know that Christ will be there with you, loving you and helping you through it—reminding you that it’s over and all is forgiven?