“You can’t run. You can’t just brush it off. It is everywhere. No matter how badly you’ve messed it up, God and his love are seeking after you. Absolutely nothing can take us from the Love that God has provided because of what Christ has accomplished.”
-Romans 8:39 (RSV)
Have you ever seen the movie Good Will Hunting? I have to be honest, it is a favorite of mine. Before I saw it, the idea sounded silly to me. I thought the idea was that people went around trying to find Goodwill; either things to do or literal Goodwill thrift stores. And somehow in the end they would eventually have hunted down and found whatever it is they were looking for. Ok, so I am a moron. All that aside, it is a pretty powerful movie that speaks to so many different things in the human narrative. My favorite part in the movie is probably the same as yours if you’ve seen it; the verbal fight in the bar. The one that starts and ends with Ben Afleck being a total ass; all be it funny. The one where janitor Matt Damon completely shows up and abuses the Harvard student about post colonialism. Yeah, it’s awesome.
However, as cool as that is, it is not the most powerful scene in the movie. What is incredibly moving to me is the scene near the end of the movie. Matt Damon is sitting in Robin William’s office and it really is the climax. Almost out of nowhere Williams tells Damon, “Will, it’s not your fault.” Will says, “Yeah, I know. I know.” But notice Williams doesn’t back down. Over and over again he tells him, “Will, it’s not your fault.’ And almost robotically, Damon says that he knows.
Eventually, Good Will Hunting cracks. He screams back at Williams, “Don’t tell me it’s not my fault!” He goes on to talk about the cigarette burns on his arms and his upbringing and how this could have somehow only been his fault. And while I cannot speak to this experience as I have been so incredibly blessed in my upbringing with my own family I have recently been convicted of another aspect or angle of this dialogue.
I think that oftentimes I find myself before the Lord with him telling me, “I love you.” And so often my response is, “I know.” The reality is that I treat the situation no differently than Will does. In my head, I know it. I have been brought up in it. It has been reassured to me by things and people whom I respect. And yet God keeps whispering, keeps reminding me, “I love you. No matter what or where, I love you.” And I find myself figuratively shouting back, “Don’t tell me you love me!. There is no way you could love me! Look at what I’ve done! Look where I’ve been!” And yet he continues, “I love you. My kingdom is about the renewal of all things. You are restored. You are made anew because of who I AM, and what I have done.”
I am more convinced than ever that this Kingdom is about love: endless, unconditional, sacrificial love. That the renewing of all things means we can look to our neighbor and tell them that we love them-in spite of all the injustices that have occurred in the past. This love is real and it comes to renew all things and all people. This kingdom love is not just about the reconciliation of us to God-but all things-us to each other, us to the earth. There is nothing that was not restored because of who Christ was and what he did on that cross.
And if this is the case, there might need to be a dramatic change in the way we are living. That reconciliation of all things means we might treat those who look differently than us as we would our families. That we might take care of the earth because God has given it to us on loan. That we might look after the poor and needy because we are to be Christ’s body and it is made clear that God hears the cries of his people.
See this love is extremely powerful. And once we have grasped it, the last thing we should do is try and hold on to it all ourselves. No, the Scriptures speak of a love that comes and overflows. A love that has no choice but to be passed on to those around us. This love of the Kingdom doesn’t differentiate between social classes or color barriers; educational or occupational status. Do you remember the call of the Angel; Good news for all. This love is not in limited supply! But we better act quickly because everyone is in need of it and we are slowly fading away.
And the best part? You cannot hide from this Kingdom love! It searches and scours for you wanting to find and be reconciled to and with you! So when he comes knocking with that whisper try not to just brush Him off with an ‘I know.” Look to live and drink deeply of this love. It fills you up like nothing else and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.