If you have never read or watched the Chronicles of Narnia STOP what you are doing and complete this task right now! The whole series will touch your heart and might give you several introspective moments as C.S. Lewis is subject to do with his creations. Now, if you have no experience with this series you may not know that this series is a beautiful reflection of our relationship with sin and the Lord. The great Aslan is the Savior, the White Witch, Jadis, is Satan and the four Pevensie siblings reflect each of us in some form. However, I think I see myself most in Edmund.
Oh, Edmund...the younger brother who feels overlooked, under appreciated and frustrated with the circumstances of his life . The one who is initially viewed as being selfish, rash and careless. On top of these typical adolescent struggles he is sent away from his home due to the Blitz of London and finds himself under the “care” of his older brother, Peter, whom he resents. Edmund begins to act out in various ways as his frustration grows with the “unfairness” of his life. I find these struggles totally relatable because I’ve been there. Truthfully, I still am at times, however, it’s not these actions that Edmund is most remembered for in the first film/second book.
For reasons that I won’t spoil for you, Edmund finds himself face to face with Jadis, who parades as a queen but is really a witch and when faced with a choice he sells his family to her for sweets (or at least that’s what she tells his siblings). In reality, Jadis played on Edmund’s desires. She made him feel important and she pledges to place him above his brother and sisters. In essence, she promised to fix everything he thought was wrong with his life. Does that sound familiar? It sure does to me!
I find that temptation from the enemy is greatest when I’m feeling frustrated or hurt. I start to convince myself that Satan’s lies really aren’t that bad or aren’t from Satan at all. I start to believe that I really do deserve whatever is being promised and that I’m justified in throwing others under the bus to get what I want. It’s easy to judge Edmund for his betrayal but I betray others and the Lord like this all of the time. Justifying my betrayal based on my emotions or my standard of fairness. Also, like Edmund, making deals with the devil typically lands me in his prison because no promise from the enemy will ever come without strings attached and eventually you’ll find yourself in the midst of a miserable situation.
However, luckily for Edmund (and me), Aslan didn’t leave him to rot in his prison cell. We learn that there was a plan in place from the beginning of time that culminates in Aslan paying Edmund’s debt to the White Witch just as Christ paid the debt of my sin. And much like Satan, Jadis tries to keep Edmund bound by the past by reminding him of his failures. Yet, just like Christ, Aslan makes it clear that Edmund’s failures no longer define him and he is no longer bound to Jadis but free in Aslan’s camp.
It takes Edmund a while to let go of the guilt he feels and to truly step into the role he has to play in the battle for Narnia. A role that he was destined for long before he knew and long before he failed. Aslan knew he would fail and yet still called him and entrusted him to complete the task set before him. A task that included being a KING! I bet Jadis never saw that coming!
That is why I love the moment where Aslan is crowning Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund at Cair Paravel. Each Pevensie is given a title that reflects how Aslan views them. You have High King Peter the Magnificent, Queen Susan the Gentle, Queen Lucy the Valiant and King Edmund the Just and while they are all wonderful descriptors I think it’s Edmund’s title that means the most. What does it mean to be just? According to Webster it is acting in a way that is morally upright or good which seems like an ironic choice considering Edmund’s history but that’s the point. This is the very lesson you see Jesus teach in Luke 7 when he is anointed by the sinful woman. He uses the parable of the two debtors to explain to the Pharisees why the woman is so grateful. Luke 7:47 states, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." (NIV)
You see, Edmund understood better than anyone the cost of justice and the power of forgiveness because he carried the burden of the debt that was HIS to pay. Unlike his siblings, he was inclined to show more grace because he had failed miserably and had been forgiven of much. In the same way, if we can ever wrap our heads around the magnitude of our sins and the enormity of God’s grace and mercy we will view our lives and those around us with a completely new perspective. While my enemy might not deserve forgiveness for what they did neither do I and yet the Lord forgave me when I was still his enemy (Romans 5:10).
As the series goes along Edmund continues to use the lessons of his past to help others in their many Narnian adventures but I think Edmund’s legacy is summed up in one of my favorite quotes from the series, "But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did." (The Horse and His Boy) Like Edmund, don’t allow your past failures or Satan to convince you that you can’t change or that you have no part in God’s plan. Remember, like Aslan, our failures don’t surprise the Lord and like in Narnia there has been a plan in place since the dawn of time to pay our debts. If you find His forgiveness you will find His hope and nothing can beat that freedom!
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~1 John 1:9