I hope you read books and then see movies. Obviously it isn’t possible to capture an entire story in two hours and in some cases you miss some pretty terrific details. For example, in the much hyped movie Unbroken, I think that Angelina Jolie totally missed the point. Yes, the cinematography is beautiful and the casting is fine, but it would be like stopping It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey gets to the bridge. Louis Zamperini made it through some pretty horrific experiences and didn’t give up. The extreme conditions of being stranded at sea or tortured by the Japanese didn’t break him….he remained unbroken. Those examples are pretty heart wrenching and uncomfortably graphic, but most definitely inspirational to witness his indomitable spirit. However, the rest of the story is even more so.
When Louie returned home, he was overcome with nightmares and memories and was filled with an anger that he just didn’t know what to do with. It spilled over into every area of his life and he was in danger of pushing all those who loved him outside the boundaries of his pain. Until one day, as a last ditch effort, his wife implored him to go to a crusade to see a young evangelist preacher by the name of Billy Graham. He was downright antagonistic, but he went anyway. The first time he walked away, but he was compelled to go back and it was then that he remembered a promise he made to God in that lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was then that he gave his life to Jesus.
It was through this commitment to God that made all the difference and turned his life around. It was then that he conquered the demons that had been chasing him. It was through the love of Jesus that allowed him to go back to Japan and forgive his captors… his torturers. That is such a powerful example of forgiveness. It is a testimony that should NOT be missed by anyone. To forgive those who beat, tortured, and treated you like less than an animal is nothing short of a Divine assistance to do so. How many humans have it in them to do that on their own steam? That is what we shouldn’t miss. And we must then ask ourselves what right have we to withhold forgiveness in our own lives for such pitiful examples of our anger when held against the backdrop of this magnitude. It is easy to forgive little things, but we are being called to forgive ALL things as we have been forgiven. I think that Louis is a blueprint for what God is asking us to strive toward.
Louie went on to do great things with his life in service to God. He started the Victory Boys Camp for wayward youth which had an exponential impact on subsequent generations. Despite the cataclysmic abuse to his body during those war years, he lived to the ripe old age of 97. God kept him around because he had a very important job to do. So that is the rest of the story….read it for yourself.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” ~ Matthew 6:14