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Payback crime

Revenge is not always the best plan

She was betrayed by someone she thought she could trust

STEALING $150 million in diamonds from the neck of a world-famous actress at ‘the most exclusive party affair in America’ sounds impossible. But Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has it all figured out in Ocean’s 8, released in cinemas yesterday (Friday 22 June).

The criminal mastermind, who comes from a family of con artists, has been devising the gem of a plan for five years, eight months and twelve days – the length of time she has spent in prison. As soon as she is released on parole, she reconnects with her partner in crime Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett) and they get to work forming the most brilliant all-female crew to carry out the heist. Each member will get a hefty cut, and the offer is too good to refuse.

With everybody in, the plan is crystal clear. Down-and-out designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) will dress the actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) for the Met Gala with a $150 million necklace as the highlight of her ensemble. Hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna) is charged with infiltrating the advanced security system of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Constance (Awkwafina), a slick pickpocket, will be responsible for getting the necklace off Kluger’s neck, while jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling) and fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson) will take care of some of the finer details.

It’s an elaborate plan, polished off with glitz and glamour, far from the simple life Debbie claimed she would lead during her appeal for parole. When Lou asked her why she is going back to a life of crime, she replies: ‘Because I’m good at it.’

But while the team are solidifying all the elements of the operation, Lou discovers her partner’s ulterior motive. Revenge. Debbie plans to frame someone else for the crime – Claude Becker, the art dealer she used to date and who testified against her, resulting in her imprisonment. Lou is not impressed, but Debbie tells her: ‘Lou, he sent me to jail. You have no idea what that’s like.’

Debbie was betrayed by someone she thought she could trust, and five years later it is payback time. It’s a big risk for the sake of revenge, but for the pain she has experienced, she feels it is worth it.

Perhaps we can relate to such feelings. Seeking revenge sometimes appears to be the only way to right a wrong. If we have been hurt by someone, it can be easy to believe that punishing them will make us feel better.

But it won’t. Revenge may never satisfy and can leave us feeling guilty, burdened and worse off than before.

What’s far better for us is to take up the offer Jesus makes. It is of inestimable value.

When Jesus died as a sacrifice to save humanity, he made a way for us to live differently.

One of the first people to realise this, Paul, went on to teach his own friends about what Jesus had done and how his act of love could change the way they lived. He wrote: ‘Forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ’ (Ephesians 4:32 New International Version).

The truth is that we have all done wrong things and deserve punishment. But because of Jesus – who took our punishment upon himself – we can be forgiven, and freed to forgive others.

That’s a deal worth getting in on.

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