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Life Doesn't Have to be Like the Movies
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Apr 1, 2001, 20:52

Did you watch the Academy Awards? Those are the awards that honor what is considered to be the “Best Of” in Hollywood. I usually watch the awards anxious to see what the Best Picture will be. I must admit that most years I have not seen the Best Picture Award winner, but I still watch. (I had seen Gladiator this year that was the only one of the nominees that I had managed to view—but since they don’t let me vote on the winner, it doesn’t matter much.)

A few years ago you might remember a film entitled Unforgiven. This 1992 film was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood. Before the Oscars had ended it had won four academy awards, including Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and the most coveted award of all, Best Film. It was the return of the western film and a great achievement for Mr. Eastwood. The reason I mention this film is that I recently heard Charles Swindoll talk about it.

As the story goes Swindoll was traveling with a group of pastoral interns while he was still in California. They took a yearly trip with the interns to visit other churches and ministries to see how people were doing church in the west. An open afternoon found them with some time to burn, so they decided to go catch a movie. The movie was none other than Unforgiven. With anticipation high for the Clint Eastwood western, they all went to the theatre. Most of you don’t think that going to the movies with a bunch of preachers would be fun, but . . .(well, to tell you the truth, I don’t think that would be fun either). To make a long story short, Chuck hated the film. He recalls thinking it was one of the worst movies he had ever seen. The screenplay was awful, the characters were despicable, and the language was raunchy. Every time he thought it would get better, it somehow got worse. The plot, the character Eastwood plays is a former gunslinger who returns to blow the bad guys away. When he is done, he returns to his little farm, where he and his two unhappy children stand by the grave of his dead wife. Some inane comments are made, and then the credits roll.

Swindoll wanted his money back and was griping about the film on the way back to the van. After the preachers critiqued the film (which is something else most would want to miss), one of the members of his groups said, “Did you ever think, Chuck, that’s really the way life is when there isn’t forgiveness?”

And that is the point. Swindoll went into the theatre hoping to see Forgiven, but the movie was Unforgiven. It was indeed about life without hope, the worst kind of existence.

That is the good news of Easter...there is hope, forgiveness, and you can live forgiven! Make sure that you celebrate this Easter, and thank God for the amazing gift of forgiveness and grace He bought for you a few thousand years ago.

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