Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Journeys Are Sometimes Necessary In Order For God To Teach Us Lessons

Life is a journey friends, and it only moves forward. We can’t go back once a moment has passed. Singer Anna Nalick once wrote in her hit single “Breathe (2 AM)” that ‘life’s like an hourglass glued to the table’ and it is true! Therefore, as believers we should try to make each and every moment count. The Apostle Paul tells us this in Colossians when he wrote “Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity” (4:5 NLT). See every moment spent in this life is important to God, especially those moments we spend around those who are not Believers, and we need to keep that in mind.

Sometimes God takes us on a specific journey to teach us some things about life as well. Many of us have heard stories of people who took time off from work and the minutiae of everyday life to seek God and hear from Him. In some ways this is true of Brett, Martine, and Gordy, three travelers who run into each other by accident on journey across Post Hurricane Katrina Louisiana in the movie “The Yellow Handkerchief.”

As the movie progresses along, we learn about each character and how they are on a specific “journey” in their lives. For Gordy, he is traveling across America searching for what it means to be a man, because his own father abandoned him when he was young. Martine, is a young 15-year-old girl, who suffers from a poor relationship with her father, and thus has looked for meaning in sexual relationships with boys from in her small town school. Brett, meanwhile is fresh out of spending six years behind bars, and on a journey to possibly reconnect with his estranged wife, though he isn’t ultimately sure if he will be able to do that or not, or if she will even take him back if he does find her.

As the story progresses these three characters that had planned to travel with each other for one day keep being brought back together through various circumstance. They also begin to learn lessons. Early on in the movie, young Gordy tells Martine that he is incredibly attracted to her and that he would like to kiss her. This scene occurs while the three of them or in a hotel, stranded because of a heavy rainstorm. Martine, who we have already been told has been taken advantage of before, agrees to allow Gordy to kiss her. However, when he kisses her passionately and begins to climb on top of her she screams and stops him, leading Brett, who had been in the bathroom, to separate the two of them for the evening.

The next day Brett quietly remarks to Gordy, that girls need to be romanced and that they don’t want to simply jump into bed with a guy. While, this certainly should have included Brett telling Gordy that sex is meant for marriage exclusively, there is still some Biblical truth in Brett’s statement. In Song of Solomon 2:3-5 the women in the poem writes “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love” (NIV). Hmmm. Banquet halls and being feed raisins and apples,(sweet foods back then) sounds a lot like dinner and chocolate nowadays perhaps? The point being the Bible tells us that a woman values a man who pursues her by romancing her and winning her heart. This in some ways is the truth Brett is telling young Gordy.
Brett meanwhile is battling a dark secret from his past. He was in jail for manslaughter, and though the death that resulted from an accident that he contributed too, there is no way that it was really his fault. Yet, Brett deep down can’t forgive himself, which I think is a predicament many of us might confess is something we struggle with all the time. When we mess up, it is so easy to beat on ourselves for days, weeks, or even years! Even if we have confessed this sin before God and man, we can still harbor anger at ourselves for mistakes we made years earlier.

The good news though friends, is that God doesn’t want us to be bound by our past mistakes. That is why he sent Jesus into the world, to die for that sin, so that we could walk I freedom. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:7 “In Christ we have redemption and forgiveness of sins.” Think about that word ‘redemption’ for a second. defines it as ‘deliverance or rescue’ and ‘atonement for guilt.’ That means we are no longer guilty in God’s eyes of for those sins. It is as if they never happened! Now don’t get me wrong in this life the effects of some sins can continue to be viewable in our daily lives, but God doesn’t want us to view ourselves as un-forgiven. He wants us to move on and allow Him to use us for His glory again!

David wrote in Psalm 130:7 “O Israel, hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is unfailing love and an overflowing supply of salvation.” From this verse, I think we can conclude that God demonstrates that ‘unfailing love’ for us through His gift of salvation, and I can’t believer he wants us to take that love he has for us and basically say ‘I know you’ve forgiven me, but I can’t forgive myself.” You see in the end, how God views us is what matters, not how we view ourselves!

As Brett progresses in his journey, he begins to realize that maybe he can forgive himself, and decides to take a chance, with encouragement from Gordy and Martine, to walk out that newfound self-forgiveness. The ending brings about the importance of romance that Brett told Gordy about to full circle, and leaves us as an audience seeing firsthand what a newly forgiven person looks like! While it may not specifically reference God in this movie, God is ultimately the author of the greatest story about Redemption, and it is neat to see earthly examples of this in Hollywood movies!

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