Peter Wigand, "Blood" and the "M" Word

Director Peter Wigand

Sexual sin is often NOT talked about.  There are some that believe that if sin doesn't affect anyone else, then it's not really sin.  Or maybe it doesn't count as much.

Jesus himself had much to say about the subject, as does the Bible.

Director Peter Wigand's film was made for the 168 Film Project in 2013.  "Blood" is a daring film that takes on the "M" word (masturbation) with so much subtlety that you might not even know it is going on.  Yet it gets to a discussion about lust that we all need to have.  

To see the 10-minute film, click here.  Note: There is zero sex in the film, but there are very mature themes.  So, Mature Audiences Only, please.

The Bible says nothing about M, but clearly condemns lustful thoughts.

Many adolescents and really all men of faith have to wonder if it is possible to do this without lust and therefore avoid shame and guilt feelings.

Some call it a pressure release with which we have been availed and a necessary way to avoid greater sins.  Why does it even work?  Why are human arms of a certain length?

Whatever the truth, here is an interesting verse that could speak of doing the difficult thing and "suffering" or striving to want holiness more than we do a release.  Therein lies the key, what do you allow into your mind and for how long do you allow it to distract you from your true purpose.

1 Peter 4:1-2 "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God." (NIV)

Here's a candid interview with Peter Wigand.  Enjoy!

168: What was the collaboration on the set of "Blood" like?
PW: It was great actually. It's the first time I got to direct a narrative film with a strong Christian message, and for some reason it was clear God wanted me to do this. So He really brought it all together. We had regular prayer on set and our meetings, and the difference that brings is enormous. Everyone was filled with a positive energy and wanted to do their best all the time.

Describe the collaboration of shots and ideas with your Director of Photography?
PW: "My DP, James Drake, is one of the most talented, yet humble people I know. He was great in collaborating with me and handled my “cinematographer moments” very well.

I think a strong collaboration with your DP is one of the most important things.  He and I went out to the location once we had a rough script and "shot out" the movie in little stills to be sure we are on the same page.

What were you trying to say with the film?

PW: It's easy to forget (or to not REALLY believe) how God's grace through Jesus' all sufficient sacrifice really does make us clean if we accept it. A lot of us still live as "bondservants" to sin or religious thinking, trying to somehow redeem ourselves through good deeds or sacrifices of some sort (in our film we took the literal approach obviously).

The foundational verse for "Blood" is Hebrews 9:22 "The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (of sins)." (NIV)

It's the old covenant versus the new covenant. Christ entered the heavenly tabernacle once and for all (as described in Hebrews 9). 

But, instead of dying to ourselves, or letting ourselves "dissolve" in God's grace and forgiveness and through that, receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is really the only thing that can set us free from the power of sin, we still hold on to the idea that we can somehow be righteous and please God through something we do.

It’s to indulge in pleasure that seems less sinful than acting out the sinful fantasies. It's using other people in your mind for your own pleasure.  It's selfishness.

Yet, Jesus clearly points out the importance of thought life and attitude of the heart. (Mathew 5:28).
Also, the old and somewhat worn out phrase “what would Jesus do” can be applied here as well.

Hebrews 4:15 says "(Jesus) has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin." (NIV)

And by LIVING in his grace, not abusing it as a ticket to sin, we ought to live holy lives which starts in our hearts.  Romans 6:14 "For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace."

But why do we deceive ourselves into thinking it’s fine if we do it? We think it’s fine, cause we aren’t God’s son and we are still in our weak flesh that we have to battle. But that’s just half the truth.
The truth is we ARE children of God, through Jesus’ sacrifice, which involved His very own BLOOD. 

The symbolism of the lamb and it's sacrifice in your film is hard to take for some.  Describe your process in making the connection with "the sin that no one talks about."

PW: Its interesting that there is a sin that automatically brings more shame than other sins. Sexual sin does bring shame, but I feel like masturbation is probably even one of the most shameful sexual sins.

That's why we chose to have our character struggle with that very thing. It needed to be something that he was so ashamed of that he can't talk about it with anyone else, which is exactly why it has so much power over us.

James 5:16 says: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (NIV)

Of course in the story he also commits straight up adultery (as in extramarital sex) and it's interesting how most people are more uncomfortable watching the scene where he disappears in the bathroom (alone), but are fine with the scene that implies him having had sex with the other woman.

Anyway, it shocks me how we are believe that we don't need to be as accountable to God when it comes to our thoughts and imagination, our hearts and minds.  

Matthew 5:27-28 says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

I used to think that it was OK to indulge in that kind of sin as long as it was all imaginary, but God worked on my heart a lot over the last couple years, and it's clear to me that only if we give our all to Jesus can we be free and live life to the full.

It's sad how ineffective our churches and Christians are in this country (or most of the western civilization) and I truly believe that being subdued to the power of sin (which happens by being fine with having "a little bit of evil" dwell in our hearts) is the reason for that (sadly, for we males, who are supposed to be the leaders) most of the time, its the sexual sins that keep us down.

Anything else you want to point out?

PW: Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  Hebrews 9:14 says:
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.”

One thing we tried to portray in the film is the seriousness of the consequence of sin, which is death. Blood stands for life. The shedding of blood (death) is necessary for redemption.

The reality of sacrificing and shedding blood for our sin is STILL here. Just because Jesus did it once and for all over 2000 years ago, doesn’t mean He didn’t shed His blood for the very sins we are committing TODAY or may even still commit!

We take His sacrifice MUCH too light-heartedly when applying it to our lives.

People cringed and shifted in their seats when our film “Blood” suggested (through the power of sound design) the sacrifice of an “innocent, poor” sheep. Yet we don’t seem to be too upset to “make use” of Jesus’ blood over and over and over again.

This is not supposed to be a guilt trip, but rather to remind us of the reality of the sacrifice of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and how it OUGHT to impact us much deeper than our superficial, selfish struggles in the flesh, such as masturbation.

And on top of Him giving His own life for us, he even gave us a helper, and promised us that there is ALWAYS a way out, 1 Cor. 10:13: " No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

What are you working on in the near future?

PW: Currently I am working on a short film called "Bound."  It's about a man who is bound to an electric wheel chair on which he escapes the nursing home to find his freedom. Although it's only a 7 pages long it will be quite the production and we're hoping to be ready to shoot in the summer.

I am also working on a feature about the life of someone I personally knew and recently passed away.
The story deals with addiction on a very deep level. My writer and I are currently sifting through his (many) life events trying to shape it into an engaging drama, but we still have a long way to go.