"American Sniper" is a beautiful story that reminds us all of the cost involved to so many for the privilege of being called an American."
I have been anxiously awaiting the release of "American Sniper." From all appearances, it appeared to have everything that could make this movie, in my mind, epic.
Before going to see the movie, I decided to look check a couple of reviews. In the movie, there are over 100 uses of the F bomb, 40 s---, a litany of other words, and God's name is misused a dozen times or more. That's one vulgar word every 50 seconds for 134 minutes. There are sexual situations, innuendos, etc. that may also be considered inappropriate.
I do realize that living in the military requires an ability to adapt to oftentimes extreme situations. The use of extreme language is normal. However, exposing ourselves to something that is normal in the life of someone else, doesn't mean it needs to become our normal.
Here are four things to think about before you go to see this movie:
1. Scripture says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
2. We can celebrate the military, it's heroes, and the daily sacrifices made on our behalf in ways other than seeing this movie. We tear up at the National Anthem at ballgames, watching a Boy Scout fold the flag, or read a story of a courageous hero. We consider it to be a privilege to be an American. Our freedom has come at a high cost to many. We don't treat that lightly. We don't need a movie to demonstrate that fact. Yes, learn the story! Celebrate the story, sacrifice, and courage!
3. We are called to be different. Romans (12:1), Paul says that he's been "set apart for (sharing/preaching/spreading) the gospel." The words set apart literally mean to be moved away and set apart. Timothy Keller writes, "To Paul, this gospel is so great that he is willing to separate himself from anything--wealth, health, acclaim, friends, safety, etc. to be faithful to his calling." ("Romans 1-7 For You" --Timothy Keller)
May the same be said of each of us. If we blend in, we may never have the opportunity to share the good news with someone. I believe with every fiber of my being that when we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, it means that we live differently. His sacrifice on our behalf drives us to love him with decisions that would honor Him. A relationship with Christ doesn't make us puppets, but rather, gives me the freedom to make choices. Because I am grateful for His sacrifice, I want to honor Him by the choices I make.
4. My kids are watching everything I do. If we don't draw the line for ourselves, how will we ever tell them that drawing lines is important?
If you have kids living under your roof, they're watching. I realize that we can have the "I'm an adult and can handle this movie" mentality. It's "normal" in the military. But, in the life of a Christ-follower, paying for the opportunity to be barraged by this sort of language is counter productive to living "noble and praiseworthy" lives.
It's important our kids see the process of living a holy life lived out in mom and dad's life. When they see that guarding your heart is important enough to you that you do something as simple as read a movie review before seeing a movie, they notice. Making the Christ-honoring decisions isn't easy. It's tough stuff.
As your children watch you draw your own lines, how far are you willing to let them push theirs? Just because something is considered "normal" doesn't make it Christ-like.
"American Sniper" is a beautiful story that reminds us all of the cost involved to so many for the privilege of being called an American. May we never lose respect for, nor forget to celebrate those who have given so much so that we may be free.
There is one who gave His all that we might be free. Let's celebrate that by the choices we make on a daily basis.
If you're one of the millions who have already seen "American Sniper," consider visiting movie review sites (such as PluggedIn.com) with a Christian perspective next time. Living a life devoted to looking like Jesus Christ is tough stuff. Especially when our wills are involved. What "we" want always seems to outweigh everything else. May we, as followers of Christ, all be "set apart for the gospel." (Romans 12:1)