Most people, when they watch a movie, just veg out and watch for entertainment. However, I have found that if you watch movies with your eyes and ears open to spiritual and life lessons, the Holy Spirit may give you incredible insights that may surprise you, or actually be life changing. This can especially happen with faith-based movies, such as the wonderful films produced and distributed by PUREFLIX. (If you’re not familiar with PUREFLIX, they are a great Christian movie company you should know about.)
However, I have found that God will frequently use the stories depicted in regular movies to reveal His truths to those who have eyes to see. Jesus continually taught using parables to illustrate His points and spiritual truths (Mark 4:10-12.) Those who were spiritually blind just thought that they were nice stories, while those who were spiritually awake learned Biblical truths and valuable life lessons. So when you see a movie, I suggest not just watching for entertainment only, but also asking the Holy Spirit what He may want to show you through the story in the movie.
An example of how God can use movies…
I have frequently used contemporary movie clips to illustrate how a Biblical truth might apply to our everyday lives. Several years ago I was teaching at a Family Foundations ministry conference in Brazil on the topic of finding and fulfilling God’s destiny for our lives. To illustrate the point of how deep wounding from a father in childhood can divert a person from the path of God’s purpose and destiny and can affect his/her adult life for many decades, I chose to use several scenes from the Disney movie, The Kid.
I showed the scene in which 39-year old Russ first encounters his 8-year old self, Rusty, in his apartment and Rusty has many questions about his future life as Russ. Through the course of his questioning, 8-year old Rusty reveals the dream and destiny that God put in his heart for his adult life. He wants to have a dog, be married, have a family, and fly airplanes. When 39-year old Russ reveals that none of this has come to pass so far, Rusty exclaims, “I grow up to be a loser.”
This exposes the truth in Russ’s heart that he has completely lost the vision and destiny God had for him, which was always in his heart as a little boy. Adult Russ realizes that in reality, while he hides his pain and inability to love, care, or sustain any human relationship, behind his financial and career success, he is, in fact, a failure at the things that really matter to him in life. This sets him on a quest to discover what happened in his childhood to divert him from the course from the destiny that God really had for him, and to correct it.
As I showed this clip, I could see on the faces of many in the audience that they could personally relate to Russ’s dilemma. They had themselves been wounded in childhood by their own fathers or mothers and had put on a mask, created a false self, and buried the deep pain and feeling of failure and being “a loser” in their own lives.
I then showed a subsequent clip in which Russ returns with Rusty to his elementary school and home in 1963, when he was 8 years old. In this scene, Russ discovers the key event through which a deep wound was inflicted in his heart by his father, that knocked him off his destiny course for the next 32 years of his life. His father using, an enraged tone of voice, shaming facial expression, and physically shaking 8-year old Rusty, blamed him for his mother’s coming death, and imparted to him a deep feeling of shame, uselessness, worthlessness, and of being a loser simply because he had behaved like an 8-year old boy. Rusty chose that day to close his heart to his father and all future human relationships and to focus on making money and hiding behind a mask of external success to protect himself from the pain of being a loser.
The audience feels the emotion and responds!
Many in the crowd cried profusely during this scene as they related to similar types of scenarios from their own childhood. I then showed a final clip of both Russ and Rusty encountering their 70-year old self at an airport diner. 70-year old Russ had a wife, children, a dog, and was a pilot, flying his family across the country in his own private airplane. I could see that this was really the movie script writer’s way of depicting the potential prophetic future for Russ if he were willing to learn the lesson to take the risk to drop the mask, forgive his father, stop protecting self, open his heart to people, and begin now to learn to love and care for others.
As 70-year old Russ loaded his family into his airplane and flew off into the evening, the revelation of this prophetic future containing all that 8-year old Rusty had dreamed of drops into the heart of both Russ and Rusty. They both simultaneously begin to dance and cheer, and Russ proclaims with a loud shout, “I am not a loser!”
At this point in the movie, all 2500 people in the audience spontaneously jumped to their feet and began to shout together in Portuguese, “I am not a loser! I am not a loser! I am not a loser!” At that moment, there was an electricity of the Holy Spirit throughout the auditorium and I could tell that this was not just an excited crowd, but that God had just used the story in this movie to heal the hearts of many in the audience from their own childhood trauma, and had given many of them a prophetic picture of their own potential future. They were not just repeating the words that Russ had said in the movie, but they were proclaiming the truth about their own lives that God had imparted to them as they received God’s personal message to them through the movie.
What do movies mean to you?!
I observed that God had used an ordinary movie as a modern day parable to expose a lie in the hearts of many in the audience, remove that lie, and replace it with God’s truth about their own identity and destiny. Jesus said in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I observed this happen on a very practical level for many people in the conference that day.
The power is not in the movie, itself. The power is in watching the movie with spiritual eyes to see and hear what God is saying to you personally through the parable, or story depicted in the movie. I hope this short blog will change the way in which you watch movies in the future.
What’s your take on God using movies as parables to speak to us? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!