Sometimes people look at me sideways when I share how prayer has literally saved my life, healed my body, and brought me necessities of life. I have a lot of stories of times God has shown up in response to prayer and made His presence evident. He has performed countless miracles in my worthless life. I BELIEVE in the power of prayer! But, I won’t be watching the Kendrick Brothers’ film War Room.
The loss of my $7 is not going to even make a ripple effect in the millions of dollars their films have grossed, and I know that. (Their previous four films brought in a combined $78 million in the domestic box office!) But, I won’t throw my measly $7 away like that anyway, not even to satisfy my curiosity…….what is the strange obsession this country’s church goers have with these movies?
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the crowd and follow the sheeple down any path they wander without question. I bought those first four of the Kendrick Brothers’ movies. Admittedly, I absolutely love Courageous. But, Fireproof was naive at best and horribly damaging at worst. The star is a pornography addict and an abuser, yet he is held up as a hero, saving people. The only person who doesn’t see how fantastic he is, is his wife….the person who lives with him. The woman who knows what he’s really like. The one person who sees beyond the image he portrays publicly. Of course, she is just as wrong in their mess of a marriage because she has an affair of the heart. He isn’t really to blame for his behavior toward her. She does seem to almost deserve some of it. In the end, he finds Jesus, smashes his computer, and pays for his wife’s parents’ needs. She responds to his grand monetary show, making her appear shallow and all about the money, and forgives him. He does seem to sincerely apologize, but his behavioral change occurs only over the course of a few weeks. And, as we all know, abusers are quite adept at making those short-term changes, only to lure us back in to their web of deceit. Our hero wasn’t held to any long-term change before the relationship was restored. He simply performed a few grand gestures; his wife saw the light of his miraculous short-term change; and everyone lived happily ever after.
Since I have not seen War Room I can only go off what I’ve heard. That, and the few YouTube clips I’ve watched. From my understanding, the entire premise of the movie is that the wife’s prayer life will change her husband’s behavior and save her marriage. And, THAT is a dangerous mindset for the Christian church as a whole to embrace so enthusiastically.
I see and hear the Christians all around me clapping their hands and saying, “Oh, prayer works! Lovely!”
And, so, they go off with great fervor, excitedly encouraging every wounded wife with the admonition to pray harder for her marriage, and the Lord will be faithful to fill her husband with a love for her and a committment to their marriage.
Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that God is a big Santa Claus in the sky, just sitting there waiting, longing, for us to send up requests, so he can happily drop down our gifts upon us. Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that we can be the Holy Spirit in someone else’s life.
Scripture does teach us to pray. Jesus said we have not because we ask not. He said if we had the faith of a mustard seed we could move mountains. And, I believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Every. Word.
Some of those words tell us to admonish one another. And, I’ll give the Kendrick Brothers credit….the weight room scene does have a friend admonishing the husband. But, in real life, that just doesn’t happen. I’ve never seen it. What I see is the same Christians who are embracing this movie and think they can just pray and get whatever they want are the same Christians who think they can show an abuser the love of Christ and he’ll respond with automatic repentance. He’s only acting in that sinful way because he needs love. “Wounded people wound people,” as I’ve so often heard them chant.
The word of God tells us to go to a brother caught up in sin and reprove him. If he refuses to repent, we are to turn him over to satan for a season, “that he may be won.”
The wife of a very abusive pastor kept an index card pinned to the wall above her desk. It read, “Some come to Him when they see the Light, others only when they feel the flame.” Our weak, politically correct society doesn’t want to offend anyone with the threat of flames. It doesn’t want to turn anyone over to satan, in spite of biblical instruction to do so in certain circumstances. So instead, we victim blame: Pray harder. Commit your marriage to Christ. Submit more. Love your husband with the love of Jesus. As though somehow her behavior can control the situation. Her lack of faith is bringing this upon her and, conversely, her improved prayer life will improve her marriage.
Maybe her prayer life does need to improve. Maybe her attitude does need to change. Maybe she does need to leave off bitterness and allow herself to be filled with the love of Christ. But, NOT FOR HER HUSBAND OR FOR THE SAKE OF HER MARRIAGE. But, for Christ alone!!! He is enough! She should be running after Him, seeking Him, because He loves her. Not because if she runs hard enough after Him he’ll give her that sinful man she’s unequally yoked to.
And, I boldly proclaim that I have never prayed so hard or fasted so often as when I was in an abusive marriage!!!
Did my prayers fall on deaf ears? They weren’t answered!
No, the Lord was bottling the oceans of tears I cried during those years. He was looking down on me longingly, not because he was eager to play Sugar Daddy to me if I’d only ask Him, but because He longed for me to STOP worshipping MARRIAGE. He longed for me to worship HIM.
The Kendrick Brothers won’t miss my $7. They have millions and millions of dollars to bathe in. They’ve joined forces with Sony because Sony brings us such great, uplifting, spiritual films like Evil Dead. It’s a natural pairing, right? The Lord certainly is smiling on that. (Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4) I can see Jesus, the man/God who overturned money changers’ tables in the temple courtyard, placing a stamp of approval on their $3 million production budget for their most recent movie because it’s a great Christian movie, bringing millions of people to their knees in renewed prayer. The end justifies the means. I can see it now…..the hope this movie will bring to the masses. The abused. The broken. The poor. The homeless. The sick. Christians will excitedly tell them to pray harder. HARDER. HARDER! Pray harder to see the changes they NEED to see in their lives. And, they’ll walk away…..home to their abusers, or perhaps not to a home because they don’t have one, or home to remain hungry, or still sick…..now also carrying the shame and blame that somehow perhaps it is all their own fault. If only they had a better prayer life.