This is easily my favorite film of all time; it’s a surprisingly spiritual Stephen King story. John Coffey faces execution for murdering the two little Detterick girls, Cora and Kathe. In reality, he’s not only innocent, but had tried to use his God-given healing power to rescue the twins. But a horrible miscarriage of justice is about to occur and they seem powerless to intervene; all the guards on Death Row know John is a sweet and guilt-free mystery from the Lord. In a chilling scene, a guard named Brutal Howell confides to his boss, Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks), his emotional misgivings about strapping this gentle giant into “Old Sparky” and flipping the switch.
“I done a few things in my life that I’m not proud of, but this is the first time I ever felt really actually in danger of hell.”
I [Paul] looked at him to make sure he wasn’t joking. I didn’t think he was. “What do you mean?”
“I mean we’re fixing to kill a gift of God,” he said. “One that never did ary harm to us, or to anyone else. What am I going to say if I end up standing in front of God the Father Almighty and He asks me to explain why I did it? That it was my job? MY JOB?”
I’m thankful to believe that when we face God our Father on Judgment Day, our sins and our cowardice are covered over by the spilled blood of Jesus. Still, we have to answer for our moments of betrayal and self-serving weakness, and this story inspires me to stand up for the weak and helpless all around me.