Recently, we’ve been going through some of the key episodes from the years of the ninth and the tenth Doctor. As the tenth Doctor’s time on the show nears an end I just re-watched one of the most tragic and personally terrifying stories I’ve ever experienced.
Spoilers (as River Song would say) are ahead.
One of the Doctor’s travelling companions, Donna, began her journeys with the Time Lord as a strong-willed, outspoken, self-important and somewhat mean-spirited woman. As she travelled with the Doctor, she became a better woman. She became compassionate and caring to others. She could selflessly put herself in harm’s way for the good of others. Donna became more intelligent as well. She hadn’t been stupid before, but she just refused to apply herself. She was lazy, and under the doctor she became wise. She was still, of course, strong-willed and outspoken . . . but these attributes became a force of good instead of selfishness.
She saved a peoples from perpetual slavery. She saved worlds. She saved the universe.
And then, in order to save her life, the Doctor had to wipe her memory of every second of her time with him. She went back to being a self-absorbed and mean-spirited woman.
To see all of Donna’s growth wiped out like that was among the most tragic, sorrow-filled events I’ve seen in a story. And it speaks strongly to the Christian life because we’ve all seen this sort of thing happen in real life.
We’ve seen self-centered men and women egoists transformed into selfless, wise, and compassionate persons as they travelled with the Great Doctor, Jesus. These men and women became wise, they led others away from slavery to sin and to freedom in Jesus. They loved others, changed lives and brought beauty into the world around them.
And then it all fell apart. They made a decision. They stole. They lied. They hurt people.
They acted just like they had before they had met the Great Doctor. And it was tragic.
This scene terrifies me, though, because as much as I would never want to back-slide and return to a life apart from my Lord . . . I cannot pretend that I am so good that I will never go back to a life characterized by sin.
Donna’s story is tragic and horrifying.
For me, as a Christ-follower, I hold onto the words of the Apostle Paul to young Timothy. He instructed him to always be "having faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and have suffered the shipwreck of their faith" (1 Timothy 1:19 HCSB). In other words, always be trusting in Christ and making God-honoring decisions . . . lest you destroy your own life and those around you.
Tragic, terrifying and horrible. Praise God for his forgiveness, empowerment and grace.
Watch the tragic scene here: