“Kingdom of Heaven” (2005): Understanding the many layers within it. Part 2 – Balian de Ibelin


Balian a man in torment and a man tormented when he is first introduced. His wife had just committed suicide after losing their child during birth.
He is a common blacksmith and yet not. He is also an artificer, an engineer and a warrior. He has been educated and so exposed more to the Bible than most. He can read and write so he is not common, for if he were he would be illiterate and ignorant as those in power wish their commoners to be.
This is the first message that is taught by this man. Do not allow yourself to be ignorant, but you say: “I have been taught and so I am not ignorant.” I would challenge this. How did this man become so talented? Through a desire to learn and better himself. This is what God wants all humans to do. Yet most do not. They allow themselves to accept what little the schools offer and seek out no more than that, yet the schools offer less and less as designed by those in power. Designed to create the ignorant and truly uneducated. They are taught selfishness, but not self-worth. All humanity if they truly wish to seek out God will seek Him. They will seek through knowledge and the desire to gain this knowledge. For though knowledge you can truly study the Bible and so then can truly understand what is within the Bible. To allow others to dictate to you what is in the Bible is to invite ignorance of a different type. The type that we find illustrated within this movie.
We find he was born out of wedlock. A bastard. His father, the younger son of the noble that rules the lands conceived him then was sent off to the Crusades to redeem himself for this sin. His father did learn the Bible and so returned as a baron to his place of birth to claim what is his. Not his land, his son.
This causes Balian to journey to the Holy Lands. Here he arrives a nobleman, more than he was a few short months before. He is forced into a fight, prevails, and so gains an escort to Jerusalem. Here he shows true Christian faith. First for not killing the second man and then for releasing this same man. The statement is made: “Your quality will be known among your enemies before ever you meet them.”
These are the qualities that all people who call themselves Christian should have. The qualities that are taught to us within the Lord’s Prayer. ”Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Balian forgave and even prayed for the man that attacked him and he was forced to kill defending himself.
The next key element within this movie that defines not only this man, Balian, but also Christianity itself. It happens when he meets with the King of Jerusalem. In their conversation, they start to discuss chess. Within this discussion is where the nugget of truth is found. The King states that when we stand before God we cannot say “’But I was told by other to do thus’ or that virtue was not convenient at the time” for our own souls are in our own keeping he also said. This is possibly one of the most profound statements I have heard in this modern era.
It is people’s responsibility for their own actions. It is something many do not accept as being true. It is another facet in the word “ignorance.” As the saying goes, “ignorance is bliss,” for within ignorance you can lead a live of peace and enjoyment because all you care for is yourself. As I have said before Selfishness is to me the ultimate sin, so ignorance is sin.
Throughout this film, you see a man, a human. Balian commits sin, yet who hasn’t? Do we hold this sin against him? No, so why should we hold others accountable for their. What people need to understand is that sin in the end will only affect the person committing these sins. When someone comes to God, they come to understand this in some way. They become remorseful and repentant when they sin. They try not to sin and then they try to do good as well to help overcome the sins they have committed.
In the final encounter between Balian and Imad. Imad turns to him and says (paraphrased) If God did not know him, then how did he do what he had done?
God knows all that we do. He only places burdens upon us that He knows we can handle. It may not seem so at the time, but we must work through it and seek out life. In movies and books, we are witness to this through struggles of violence and battle. Battles like that for the city of Jerusalem in this movie.
Study the man Balian in this film and learn. Do not just look upon it as escapism, which to a degree it is, but learn, from it and the man.

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