I don’t often sit long enough to watch a whole movie at home, but last Friday was different. On TV I watched a movie called “Get Low”. It’s a film starring Robert Duvall and Bill Murray. That alone made me take notice. So I watched.
It is a story of a hermit, whom the townfolk in the 1930’s setting had been maligning for 40 years. He isn’t known, there are rumors about his past and he never did anything to set it straight. He hid away. And as always, there was reason.
Finally, after living in this self-made prison for 40 years, he decides to come clean. So, he invites the whole county to his funeral… a funeral while he is still alive. You see, he wants to be there to make sure the story is told. There is a pivotal conversation between he and a preacher, who told him what to do 40 years ago to make it rigth – ask for forgiveness. But he didn’t and felt like he couldn’t.
He said he felt he had to pay for his wrongdoing… but after 40 years of paying, he realized forgiveness was the only thing that would bring true resolution. At one point he says, “I’ve paid. I’ve never married. I’ve never had a family. I’ve never even held a baby.” He is empty. At the end of his paying he is empty and has nothing but 40 years of pain to look back on. And now he is old.
The story ends with him receiving the forgiveness he sought and sometime dying in peace.But at the end of the story, while there was resolution, in my heart there lingered a sadness. The sadness was that this man wasted 40 years trying to create reconciliation through self-judgment and self-punishment. And he hid away from the only thing that would free him – forgiveness.
After this movie, I just wanted to tell everyone. If you are burdened by sin and failure, don’t wait. You can imprison yourself by pulling away, isolating yourself, or filling your life with things that will never created wholeness. Instead, seek forgiveness now! Talk to God and be honest about what you’ve done, or are doing. Talk to those you’ve wronged. Ask for the forgiveness that you need. This will allow the work of reconciliation to begin now! This is why Christ died. This is how we’re freed.
Why wait? In Psalm 32, we read…”3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”