2 romantic movies, 1 thing we can learn
Don’t worry, this editor’s letter is not about the Capitol riot, the inauguration, or even politics.
I will say this and move on: Regarding any of the riots from this past year, whether perpetrated by black or white, left or right, we are called to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13). There are times, even now in America, that do call for righteous disobedience — but only when obeying the law means disobeying God. We should think this through before trying to justify the riot that aligns most with the cause(s) we believe in, regardless of what those causes are.
Now, for a complete about-face, let’s discuss two romantic movies (with spoilers). Yes, I do have a point!
So, I hate the movie “The Notebook.” It’s just too … perfect.
Allie is gorgeous. Noah is charming. Their clothes are cute. The way they meet on a Ferris wheel is cute. Almost their entire romance (minus some premarital activities I don’t agree with) is delightful. Their only obstacles are two people: Allie’s mom, who hides the letters Noah writes to Allie while she’s in college; and the man Allie dates when she thinks Noah has forgotten her.
Needless to say, Allie and Noah reunite and overcome these odds. The couple has exactly one fight before getting married and settling into a beautiful house that Noah has built by hand.
Ironically, I love “Pride and Prejudice” (2005), which arguably is less realistic than “The Notebook.” A strong-willed single woman in her 20s, of only middling “fortune” — aka an old maid in the Jane Austen era — finds an attractive, smart, and (she learns) kind man who loves her, and he’s rich.
But unlike “The Notebook,” in “P&P,” the two people standing in Elizabeth and Darcy’s way are themselves. The pride is hers, the prejudice his. Also, how about this “meet cute”: After they’re introduced at a ball, she overhears him telling someone that Elizabeth is “not handsome enough to tempt me (to dance).”
Rejected at a dance? Now THAT’s relatable.
Despite this start, Darcy falls for Elizabeth and proposes to her — but mentions during the proposal that he finds her family rude, and her middle-class status less than ideal. She fires back at these insults and brings up things she’s heard about him (one true, one not) that make him look bad.
He writes her a letter explaining himself. Now she’s torn. Then she winds up at his mansion when she thinks he’s not home, but he is, and they have a brief, painfully awkward conversation. Finally, through a series of events, Elizabeth realizes she’s mad about Darcy, and all is well.
These bungled social encounters and arguments, followed by the gradual realization that maybe you’re wrong? This is more like real life.
Christians could learn from Elizabeth and Darcy. From Darcy we could learn to be tactful, instead of listing a person’s shortcomings just to be “honest.” From Elizabeth we could learn to do our own research, and not believe everything we hear through the grapevine (or rather, on the news or social media).
If we’ll put aside our pride and prejudice, get to know each other honestly, and refrain from taking offense at every little thing, we’ll inch closer to the unity Jesus prayed for (John 17).
Now I’m not saying that, in a misguided attempt at “unity,” we should be silent about evil and injustice in order to avoid offending someone. Far from it! We are to build our convictions on the Word of God, and act and speak accordingly. (An aside: Memorizing scripture is a great thing.)
I am saying we shouldn’t give up on Christian unity when it’s hard.
God could have given up on unity with us. He certainly could have had pride, and He could have had prejudice against us as sinners. Instead, He bore our sins in order to reconcile us to Himself. We should follow His example.
Other Christians will hurt us. They’ll make assumptions about us based on bad information. We’ll dislike their political beliefs and/or expressions thereof, or how they interpret scripture. It’s a bumpy road to unity.
But the journey is easier without the baggage of pride and prejudice.
PS: I love this entire edition of MCL, but the “must-read” is our cover story, which involves marriage, divorce, and reconciliation — all involving the same couple!