The Case of Mistaken Identity

Twenty four years ago the movie CastAway first appeared in theaters across the country. Though it was not based on a true story it did as some say draw inspiration from real-life survival experiences. In the movie actor Tom Hanks plays the character Chuck Noland a FedEx executive who because of a plane crash in the Pacific ocean becomes a lone survivor and castaway on a secluded South Pacific Island.

Noland played by Hanks eventually creates a fictional character he names “Wilson” out of a volleyball washed ashore using his own blood to paint the features on the ball of imaginary eyes, nose and mouth and bird feathers for hair. Wilson then becomes Nolands only companion for the next few years though imagination.

One of the famous lines in the movie as Noland talks to his companion in an island cave, home is when he says with a smile talking to the volleyball; “I know you!” Noland says this repeatedly to Wilson as though the blood stained ball were another person in the room. It is later when Nolard builds a raft and is able to escape the island taking Wilson with him. After a bad storm Noland notices Wilson is missing, floating away with the waves leaving Noland traumatized and alone on the raft. There seems to be a spiritual truth to be gleamed from the movie regarding both Noland the CastAway as well as Wilson; his make-believe companion.

When a person becomes a Christian accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives their past is forgiven and gone so to speak. They become as new born babies in the kingdom of God. Their past history of sins and misdeeds is wiped clean. It is as the Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:17; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are new.” In the Gospel of Matthew 16:25 we read; “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

This last verse in the scriptures seems to present the question; Who is really the CastAway here and who is really the one found? We are all CastAways of sorts because of original sin. This is because until we are found and restored back into relationship with God. The plane going down in the movie in some way can resembles mankind’s fall for all of us making us CastAways separated from the knowledge of God. As it states in the book of Ephesians 4:18; “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts.” In that sense we are all marooned here on earth.

So, if someone does not know God how can they really know you, who are now a child of God, you who have been translated from one kingdom into another so to speak? Like the CastAway, Chuck Noland they may know who you were before you received Christ but you are not the same person because of receiving Christ. They may say as Noland; “I know you” but in reality they really don’t. You will look the same, walk the same, your voice will be the same, but you are not the same. All CastAway Chuck Noland and those like him will see is Wilson as he looks at you thinking; “I know you.” But like Wilson in the movie our past sins and transgressions are lost in the sea of God’s forgetfulness as stated in Micah 7:19.

Our old old life has drifted off to their dismay just like Wilson and our old nature is missing in action. The old identity becomes a missing person, a cold case in the file cabinets of CastAways confused memory of us and a case of mistaken identity. This is true until they come to know Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior and they no longer will be CastAways and we no longer Wilson. It is at that time we are no longer just a ball of hot air, whose happened to drift off somewhere, but rather brothers and sisters in the Lord.

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