Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To Save a Life

I just finished watching To Save a Life. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it. It’s a movie about a boy who commits suicide, the events that led up to the suicide, & the events that followed. It’s a Christian film, & it had a lot of good lessons & things to think about.

In one part, a boy meets a youth pastor. They start talking, & the kid says, “I’m not really religious.” The preacher responds with, “That’s okay, neither am I.” I love that. Christians are not called to be religious. They’re called to live for Christ. That requires action.

The boy I mentioned, Jake, was speaking to his girlfriend about the boy who committed suicide. He explains that he feels guilty, because they used to be close friends when they were young, but then they stopped talking. She keeps saying, “It’s not your job to watch over him,” & saying that Jake shouldn’t feel guilty because he didn’t kill him. He says, “I know I didn’t kill him. I know I didn’t do anything.” & she says, “Yeah, none of us did.” & Jake replies, “That’s the problem!” This is so true. While the suicide may not have been Jake’s fault, it goes to show that every little action ultimately affects someone’s future. What if one act of kindness could have changed his mind? Ephesians 5:16 says to “make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” & Galatians 6:10 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Take advantage of every opportunity to show Christ’s love. God cares for His kids, & we should do everything in our power to demonstrate that fact to everyone we come into contact with.

Later in the movie, after becoming a Christian, Jake’s life starts to fall apart. He prays & says, “God, I don’t know if I’m allowed to be mad at You, but I am.” It’s perfectly fine to be angry with God, but we need to realize that God is not the problem. New Christians/growing Christians are Satan’s prime targets. When things start falling apart, it’s not because you’re being punished. It’s because you are a threat to Satan & he wants you out of the picture. God does not exist to come into your life & magically make everything better. He comes into your life to be there for you & get you through the tough times.

Another big issue addressed in the movie is accepting people. One line in the movie is, “You judge this kid but you haven’t even bothered to get to know him.” How often do we do that? We write someone off because they don’t fit in, or they’re different, or just weird. But who are we to judge? The youth pastor in the movie uses an illustration that describes this really well. He holds up a $20 bill & says, “What would you do for $20? French kiss a dog? Take your mom to prom?” Then he holds up a penny. He asks, “Would you still take your mom to prom for this penny? Would you french kiss the dog for a penny? This is often how we see people.” We have $20 people & penny people. We’d do a lot to help the $20 people… our friends, family, & people we want to get to know better. But what would we do for the penny people… the ones who aren’t anything like us, who we don’t really know (& possibly don’t care to know)? Just something to think about.

Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.” When we love others, we’re loving Christ, & no one is too low to love.

Unfortunately, the church is one of the worst places for this kind of judgment. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a huge issue for all churches. However, I’ve visited several churches, & there were many times where I honestly felt like people could care less whether or not I came back, & I have friends who have had similar experiences. We got weird looks, or were ignored, or just felt awkward because we dressed a little differently, or were young, or didn’t really know anyone. There were even one or two instances where we literally were not spoken to by anyone. The youth pastor in To Save a Life said, “This is supposed to be a place where you don’t have to pretend you’ve got it all together & don’t have any problems. This is supposed to be a place where you can be who you really are.” Why aren’t all churches like that?

There was also a point in the movie where Jake says to the youth pastor, “I believe that YOU believe. But why are they’re so many fakers in there?” & the youth pastor responds, “They’re willing to settle.” There are so many people who are just faking it. They go to church & do good deeds because they’re settling for being “good.” That is not what Christianity is about! Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. It is not by your own doing, but it is the gift of God, so that no man can boast.” God doesn’t want us to be good. He wants us to passionately love & follow Him, & to care for His people.

Towards the end of the movie, someone says “Life is a journey. Not so much to a destination, but a transformation.” Think about where you want your journey to take you, & take steps to get there. (:

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