Law Abiding Citizen vs James Musa Rike


Law Abiding Citizen
The film 'Law Abiding Citizen' has something deeply satisfying about it - and yet deeply disturbing too. Gerard Butler plays a man (Clyde) who is victim to the horrible murder of his wife and daughter, and achieves the most extreme and planned out revenge - not just on the murderers, but also on the whole legal system who 'let him down'.

That's the satisfying side. We all feel it: extreme evil must be dealt with extremely. Evil demands justice. But as the film goes on, it becomes apparent that Clyde is worryingly similar to the original criminals.


Now let us meet James Musa Rike. Following the country's presidential elections, there has been a fresh wave of violence towards Christians from Muslim extremists. James is a Christian living in Northern Nigeria.

James and Dune, with three of their children -
including 13 year old Sum at the back

A few weeks ago, his home was attacked. Midnight - but no prince charming. No glass slipper. Instead, running into the night as men burst into the house with guns and machetes. James was powerless as his one year old and three year old children were shot down. Then he held his 35 year old wife, Dune, after she had been shot and slashed with a machete. She said to him, “Hold on to your faith in Jesus, and we shall meet and never part again.”

James next heard the cries of his 13-year-old daughter a few yards away. “I rushed to my daughter, only to discover that she too was cut with a machete on her stomach, and her intestines were all around her,” he said. “I held her hand and began to pray, knowing she too was about to die. She told me that the Muslim militants told her they would kill her and “see how your Jesus will save you.” The girl told her father that she responded by telling them that Jesus had already saved her, and that by killing her they would only be making it possible for her to be with Him. James prayed for her as she died.

How would you respond to that? James said the incident has simply strengthened his faith in Jesus. “Whatever is the situation, I will never forsake Christ,” he said. “All human beings are created by God, and our attackers must know that they need to abandon anything that will lead them to destroy creations of God.”

There is just one major difference between Clyde and James. It's an understanding of Romans 12:19-21: "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,', says the Lord... Do not overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good." Trust in God is what it boils down to. James knows God is good and fair. He can entrust the matter to God, who will punish fairly and adequately. And he can live on in the grace of God, knowing that all people, even evil murders, need to hear the gospel of Christ.