As we wrapped up the At the Movies series at First Christian this past Sunday, this will be our last Friday with a summary and some thoughts.
You all know me well enough to know that I do not have a poker face and I wear my feelings and thoughts on my sleeve, and all the other cliches we can think of to say that be advised. This particular movie is a genre that triggers something akin to terror in my soul.
Two things make me hyperventilate and it isn’t squirrels and mice. Those run a far distant third to prison scenes and snakes. Leslie Kent, who actually did prison ministry and loved it for years, once told me of a prison in the Deep South where you can see snakes crawling up the walls. Of all the things Ma Lamb has said that have brought me peace and comfort this is a visual that scares the living daylights out of me.
So when I realized the movie of the week was Shawshank Redemption, I put up a fortress around my heart and soul and spirit and watched with as much detached concentration as I could muster while still praying fervently for the Lord to speak to me through the message shared by Pastor Brian through the clips we saw. Though edited greatly, one could still sense the raw nature of the film and the characters of falsely accused Andy, seasoned conman inmate Red and institutionalized Brooks who chose to not continue his life of freedom once on the outside of the comfortable and known walls of prison.
I have sufficiently over thought the little portions I saw so in an effort to keep my mind stayed on things that keep me breathing normally and my heart beat at a regular pace, I am forgoing my notes and Brian’s comments (which were wonderful) and I am just jumping to my big takeaway.
I will never watch Shawshank Redemption or any movie depicting life in a penitentiary. It triggers fears in me that God has not given me grace to live in and should I ever need it, He will provide but I cannot manufacture grace to help me deal with images made for the big screen.
But the fear of incarceration and the pain and horrible circumstances of a prisoner are a stark reminder that sin holds people captive in much the same way. And in the words of Paul, it was for freedom that Christ set me free. (Galatians 5:1)
And I rejoice in the things I know he has set me free from and I recognize the darkness and the evil of so many of my own sins and sins I see in the world.
However, God calls many things sin that I can actually justify, ignore and accept as minor.
But God mentions no “minor” sins.
There is no genteel little executive prison with a few restrictions, but overall completely livable, for “insignificant sins.”
And so let’s view what God calls out as sin in this passage:
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy,
fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these.
Galatians 5: 19-21
Oh yes, I can see the snakes crawling all up the walls of some of those.
But what about jealousy, envy, fits of anger, strife.
How many times do I struggle with those or have them active in my life and don’t even struggle against them?
So my prayer is that I would begin to abhor the more subtle and socially acceptable sins as much as I do the ones that are more blatant in my eyes.
That’s the key isn’t it.
To pray to view my attitudes, thoughts activities, actions, feelings and moods in light of His eyes, not my eyes or the eyes of my fellow sojourners.
Spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen the film. Andy spends every day of 19 years slowly tunneling his way out of the prison and escapes the night before he would have been moved to a new cell.
What prison wall have you and I become so comfortable living in we fail to see that Christ has dug a hole through the thickness of those walls and invites to walk out of the darkness and into His glorious light?
Don’t settle for less than the fullness of freedom for which Christ gave His life in payment for.
You are precious.
You are loved.