Season 5, Episode 2, Strangers

Strangers The Walking DeadThe gang is back together now, as evidenced by the trademark Reservoir Dogs slow-mo strut shot. Other than Beth, who is still MIA, everyone is accounted for. So for the first time in a long time, the group pauses to take a breath in an abandoned church. It’s during this “pause” that many of the group seek to collect their thoughts and prepare themselves mentally and psychologically for what might lie ahead.

Episode 2 tackles the theme of overcoming our past. Father Gabriel is introduced as a reverend of a small church who has somehow survived since the dead began walking the earth. Gabriel is plagued by guilt for something, and we can only guess that it has something to do with the fact that he survived alone in the church while countless others perished outside.

It’s always intriguing when Hollywood introduces religious characters. Most often, these individuals are depicted as the archetypal hypocritical, unloving Christian. I’m curious to see if they defer to this overplayed stereotype.

The jury is still out on Father Gabriel (even though 78% of Talking Dead viewers voted that he is dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted), but so far, his refusal to confess what’s bothering him is making the group a little leery of his actions. That’s probably why Rick not only asked him the “three questions” (a la Season 4, Episode 1), but basically told him, You endanger my people, I endanger you.

But Gabriel isn’t the only one struggling to find penance for sins past. Carol, Michonne and Tyreese each express the individual desire to squash bad memories in search of a new beginning. Carol and Rick even share a moment where the two of them make things right.

Let’s face it. People don’t like to carry around secrets. These secrets become burdens, weighing them down emotionally. Daryl feels this struggle from Carol, and even though he’s not pressuring her to confess, he makes it clear that he’s willing to listen.

America agrees. 86% of Talking Dead viewers voted that Carol should tell Daryl.

Confession feels good.

Perhaps that’s why Tara approached Maggie, burdened with the guilt of once standing with the Governor (a path she already navigated with Glenn in Season 4, Episode 10).

The scene begins about 50 minutes into the show (including commercials).

Tara: I was at the prison, with the Governor.

Maggie is speechless, realizing what Tara is confessing.

Tara: I didn’t know who he was or what he could do, and I didn’t know who all of you were.

Maggie processes Tara’s words.

Tara: I just didn’t want it to be hidden that I was there.

Maggie: You’re here with us now.

Tara smiles. Maggie hugs Tara.

SEASON 5, EPISODE 2 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1.  Why were so many people searching for forgiveness?

2. Why do people feel the need to disclose sins of the past?

3. How would you have responded if you were Maggie, especially after losing your father to the Governor?

4. Was Maggie right to forgive Tara?

Read the following passages from scripture:

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[b] who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

Then Jesus tells a story about a guy who was forgiven much by a king, but wouldn’t forgive someone else even a little. The ending of the story is a little sobering:

34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” (Matthew 18:34,35)

5. Why does Jesus tell Peter “seventy times seven” (which basically meant, “infinity”)?

6. What does God do if we won’t forgive others?

7. Why won’t God forgive us, if we won’t forgive others? (A tough answer to a tough question: God is willing to forgive us if we are willing to put our complete trust in Him. Part of that complete trust is the willingness to give up our own selfish desires. That includes “grudges.” God welcomes us to him when we are ready to let go and give ourselves completely to him.)

Are you holding onto a grudge that you want freedom from?

Pray and ask God to give you the strength to give up that resentment to him. Ask God to take that grudge from you and free you from bitterness.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen's Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to Season 5, Episode 2, Strangers

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