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TV Show 'The Good Wife' on Repentance

In the TV drama The Good Wife, one of the main characters is Peter Florrick, a former state's attorney who went to prison after a sex scandal. Once he served his sentence he tries to revive his political career and reconcile with his wife, Alicia. In a scene from the 1st season, Peter and two of his assistants make a visit to an African American pastor named Isaiah. After informing Pastor Isaiah that Peter needs his spiritual guidance, the pastor glares and Peter and says, "So you want to use me?"

Peter answers honestly: "Yes. It looks good if I'm embraced by you. Our polling numbers are below par with African American women."

"So is that the latest scheme, Mr. Florrick. Brutal honesty?"

"I know you think I'm just a shallow, narcissistic politician. You know what? I agree with you. But I have been in prison for the last eight months. I've been away from my family. From my life. I've seen everything I've built turn to dust."

Pastor Isaiah responds sarcastically: "Until one day you found the glorious words of the Gospels. I am not a photo op. I can't be charmed. I can't be finessed. I can't be yupped. You have done wrong."

"I know I have."

"Your marriage is in trouble. I know you think it isn't, but it is. Because you don't acknowledge true repentance."

"Tell me what I have to do?"

"Do you love your wife?"


"Does she love you?"

"I don't know."

"You are sleeping in separate rooms?"


"Do you believe Jesus died for your sins?"

Peter pauses uncomfortably again. "I don't know what that means."

"Do you want to know what it means?"

He firmly answers, "No."

Pastor Isaiah smiles and says, "Please God, make me good, just not yet." Peter smiles as well. "You're afraid of change. But your wife won't love you, she won't return to your bed, till you change. So, do you want to change?"

Later in the episode, Pastor Isaiah prays and counsels with Peter weekly in his home. But Peter's repentance proves to be short-lived. When the political benefits of Pastor Isaiah subside, he is dismissed from Peter's advisory team.

Editor's Note: The video of this scene runs for 2 minutes and 8 seconds from Chapter 1, 6:56—9:4

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Pleasing Others; Fear of Man—You have to hand it to Pastor Isaiah: He won't be moved from speaking the truth in love just to please others and receive flattery. (2) Repentance—Peter represents a shallow, self-serving, and ultimately false version of true repentance.

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