There are a few movies that captured fairly well the harsh and bleak reality of the lives of people living in that era. There is one award-winning movie that captures it best, in my opinion, the 2006 German-produced movie The Lives of Others, which I watched with English subtitles since my German has degraded from being away from that country for eight years now. In this movie, the main protagonist is a Stasi (East German secret police) officer, Gerd Wiesler, who is assigned the duty of surveillance of a well-known playwright, Georg Dreyman. Ostensibly, the reason for the stake-out is that Dreyman’s loyalty to the Communist regime is questionable, so he is possibly involved in unapproved and dissident activity. However, Wiesler finds out in time that the main reason for his assignment is that a high-ranking Communist official has romantic interest in Dreyman’s girlfriend. A big part of the plot revolves around Wiesler’s enlightenment as he discovers the corruption and abuse of Communist leaders that hypocritically repudiate all the propaganda of helping the working class. Wiesler comes to understand that the tyrannical Communist government is extinguishing all joy and meaning of life for the ordinary citizens in its arrogant pursuit of total control. And he comes to understand what we all have come to understand in human history, that our political leaders way too often do not have altruistic motives in their duties.
There is something in the human heart that craves freedom. It is like freedom was built into us such that we automatically understand that we were meant to experience it. I believe that God made us to live in freedom, both physically and spiritually. Surely He does not desire that we live in cruel, authoritarian regimes such as North Korea. These places always suck the life out of the human heart and leave people feeling dissatisfied. But there is also a need to live in spiritual freedom. The only way we can experience that type of freedom is in a relationship with our Creator. If we enter into covenant with Him through His son Jesus, then He can set us on the path of freedom. At the point of salvation, He gives us the hope and promise of freedom. But we can only get a small glimpse of that freedom if we walk in fellowship with Him, making prayer a regular priority. As we spend that time with Him daily, over the space of years, we will find that the freedom becomes more and more of a reality in our lives as we submit parts of our lives to Him and He builds more and more of His spirit within us. Over time, the many fears and sins of our life that keep us captive are cast out of us as He grows more and greater within us. This is what we were meant for, and it is the only way we can find the freedom that we so desperately crave.