I am not a movie critic. I go to the movies maybe once a year and I NEVER go on opening night because I hate crowds. Movies seldom impress me and I tend to stick to the old classics as “the last great movies.” But…
Last night I went to the movies and saw, “I can only imagine,” staring Bart Millard, and was amazed at the list of actors I knew from the big screen: Cloris Leachman, Dennis Quade, Trace Adkins, and Priscilla Shirer. Before the movie even began I was impressed. I was also amazed that I was sitting in a nearly full theatre on a Saturday afternoon watching a movie with a “Jesus” theme; and right next door, “God’s not dead,” another movie with a definitive Christian theme was playing. It appeared to me that mainstream moviegoers were accepting and even embracing movies that proved you don’t need sex and profanity to be successful. Even a USA TODAY online magazine article by Patrick Ryan said, “Stop calling Christian movies' success a 'surprise.'” (Read more).
I loved the movie. It brought me to tears, it made me smile, and it gave me hope. Things other movies fail to do because the theme is usually flat and relies on “shock and awe” instead of good writing. If you take away the noise, the car crashes, the sex, and the profanity in most of today’s movies, there is very little storyline and even less originality. Most of the movies I see playing have some underlying political theme or it is so offensive to my senses I quit going to the movies all-together. It was a pleasure to see a quality movie that did more than just “entertain.” It touches the soul and reminds us that change is possible, and forgiveness is a choice.
This movie has a happy ending. Unfortunately, not all endings are happy and not everyone changes before they die. Often, an abusive parent has left scars (physical and emotional) on their child and those painful memories remain long after the parent is gone (by choice or by death). This movie reminded me of the sadness those people experience when they know change was possible, but their parent refused it. They’re parent’s (spouses, siblings, friends, lover’s) choice doesn’t mean the one who is left behind can’t forgive. The act of forgiveness is the acceptance of our powerless inability to make them change and results in our letting go of the pain. It goes to show you that the Apostle Peter was right when he wrote,
Consider what it would feel like to live a life free of the pain of the past. To forgive does not mean to forget. It only means you are not going to let those painful memories control you anymore. You choose life of love instead of regret, anger, and disappointment. They had a choice and so do you. So, right now: Close your eyes. Breath deeply. Let go. Let God. Just Imagine.