What I learned about redemption and grace from Master Chef.
Last night my wife and I were enjoying one of our favorite shows, Master Chef on FOX. It was down to eight contestants and four were involved in a pressure test. Two of the three remaining contestants who were fighting for a chance to remain in the competition were Leslie and Ahran. Leslie is a fifty something dude from Malibu with a wife and kids and Ahran is an eighteen year old Korean-American girl from Palo Alto. These two did NOT hit it off very well from the beginning and down right hated each other. They would trash talk each other during mystery box challenges and were not capable of being on the same team during challenges. Leslie insisted on mispronouncing Ahran’s name and treating her like she was one of his kids. Ahran was constantly disrespectful of Leslie and his ability in the kitchen.
Last night as Leslie, Ahran, and a third contestant stood before the judges, something happened. A couple episodes ago, there was a touching moment when Leslie and Ahran were chosen to be a team for a challenge and ended up succeeding famously and they may have even won, I do not remember. What happened last night is that two of the three were going to be sent home. The first contestant was dismissed and Leslie and Ahran stood before the judges, Joe, Gordon and Graham. Prior to this part of the episode, during the build up to the decision, Leslie said something. Confession-style, he explained his heart changed towards Ahran. He expressed that maybe it was that he missed his kids, but he was growing fond of Ahran and respected her abilities as a chef. The judgement was made that Ahran was to leave the competition. With tears in their eyes, Leslie and Ahran hugged one another and said goodbye. When the judges asked Ahran who she thought would win, her response was, “Leslie.”
I would be lying if I said I did not get a little choked up. What is it about redemption that strikes such a cord with us? Why is it that my wife always says those scenes are her favorite moments in every movie or television show? Restoration is something that makes us feel good. Whether it is Mike and Frank from American Pickers finding a rusty cooler or if it’s seeing the Scott brothers on HGTV renovating a house. I believe that we are touched and broken by redemption and restoration because it mirrors our own experience with God. God and sin are enemies. Habakkuk 1:13 says that God cannot even look at sin. Paul tells us in Romans that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us. We were enemies of Christ and he still wanted to restore our relationship with his father.
The greatest stories told, the greatest films to grace the screen, mirror the struggle of good versus evil and the concept of redemption and restoration. Art imitates life and whether you realize it or not, redemption touches a part of us that we often do not realize is there.
Master Chef last night reminded me that even though I was an enemy of God, he loved me enough to send his Son to die in my place. A perfect man was crucified to bring me back to my Father who I walked away from. I don’t know of a better tale of restoration than that.