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Tag Archives: Forrest Gump

Making Peace with God

Hollywood usually falls short when attempting to accurately illustrate a biblical principle.  Yet, in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the evolution of Gary Sinise’ character helps viewers understand what is means to make peace with God.  Lieutentant Dan is born into a long lineage of military officers.  In his mind, Lieutentant Dan believed he was destined to die on a battlefield in Vietnam along with his battalion.  However, Forrest Gump’s act of bravery forced Lieutentant Dan to live the rest of his life on earth without legs.  As Forrest ran off to pursue other aspirations in life, Lieutentant Dan was bound to a wheel chair.  Bitterness grew within Lieutentant Dan’s heart until Gump became a shrimp boat captain.  Volunteering as Gump’s second mate, Lieutentant Dan wrestles with his purpose on earth.  During a major hurricane, Lieutentant Dan verbalizes his frustrations, welcoming the wrath of nature head on as if to seek a duel with God.  After this storm passes, Lieutentant Dan makes peace with God.

One of the criminals who had been hanged [on a cross beside Him] kept hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us [from death]!” 40 But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?-Luke 23:39-40

A first century doctor, no stranger to death, shares a story about Jesus just before his death on a cross.  For some reason, this encounter is glanced over by the other 3 gospel authors, skipped to cover other healings, miracles and stories.  In the passage below, Luke reveals steps toward making peace with God.  The first involves acknowledging your imperfections or as the apostle Paul once said, “falling short of God’s glory,” Romans 3:23.  Once individuals confess their sins to God, step two is geared toward securing an eternal destiny.  The disciple whom Jesus loved once proclaimed, “you don’t have to hope for an answer; you can know for certain,” 1 John 5:13.  On their death bed, hanging from a cross, one criminal went to hell and other was promised to be with Jesus in paradise, heaven.  This is one of the best biblical examples of making peace with God.

We are suffering justly, because we are getting what we deserve for what we have done; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, [please] remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 Jesus said to him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise,” Luke 23:41-43.

Whenever I attend a funeral, enter an emergency room or take off in an airplane, making peace with God is brought to the forefront.  Instead of reading a book or watching a movie, the fragility of life flashes through my mind.  Sadly, most people don’t consider making peace with God until its too late.  As my blood pressure sky rocketed yesterday while sitting in preop, I was powerless, unable to control my breathing.  When my eye surgery was cancelled, too dangerous to perform due to my elevated blood pressure, my perspective on life changed like Lieutentant Dan in Forrest Gump.  Maybe I won’t be the person I hoped for or be able to achieve the dreams that I aspire, but at some point I have to make peace with God.  I guess it’s time to surrender my goals by yielding to God’s ultimate plan for my life on earth.  Although I still don’t know exactly what that is, my recent health scare has provided me the opportunity to make peace with God where I am.

by Jay Mankus

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A Thornbush in a Drunkard’s Hand

Forrest Gump gave America the notion that “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”  This imagery reminds individuals of the days of generic Valentine Day boxes filled with an unlabeled variety of flavors.  Unfortunately, few movies address delicate issues like alcoholism in When a Man Loves a Woman.

Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool, Proverbs 26:9.

According to King Solomon, drunkenness is nothing new.  Jewish wedding receptions often lasted several days with some extended for a week.  It was common for hosts to bring out cheap wine once most of the guests were hammered, unable to tell the difference anymore.  Whether Solomon is referring to an actual event following a party or using hyperbole, drinking numbs the pain of individuals.  The physical affects with a thornbush will be felt after the alcohol wears off.

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap, Luke 21:34.

One of the hardest transitions facing young people is learning to have fun in life without alcohol.  When my father was transferred to Cleveland while I was in college, making new friends was tough.  After meeting some people my own age, I became their designated driver whenever this group went clubbing on the Flats in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  Unfortunately, most of them could not dance without getting drunk.  Not wanting to wait one evening, I traded places with a girl friend, helping the crew down 3 pitchers of beer.  While I was the life of the party for a few hours, the lingering affects of this spree lasted 2 days.  Thus, I know what its like to be a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand and its not a place where you’ll ever want to visit.  Heed the passage above to avoid the pain I endured.

by Jay Mankus

A Fool’s Eyes

One of my favorite quotes from Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks is “stupid is as stupid does.”  Sometimes its easier to recognize stupidity rather than go into specific details.  A common synonym for stupid is foolish.  This label is earned when an ill-advised act, choice or word is made.

A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth, Proverbs 17:24.

According to King Solomon, fools tend to get distracted.  Instead of thinking before you act, the world provides ample temptations to lose your way.  While the discerning keep wisdom in sight, fools wander off the straight and narrow.  The longer an individual indulges in the pleasures in life, the hardest it becomes to leave this wayward road.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world, 1 John 2:16.

People don’t wake up and decide I’m going to do something foolish.  Rather, a series of compromises places souls on a path toward destruction.  The naive believe they will be able to turn back whenever they want.  Unfortunately, the fool’s eyes often wait until they are on verge on death before coming to their senses.  May those struggling at this moment heed the verses in scriptures above to escape a fool’s eyes before its too late.

by Jay Mankus

 

Sinning, Stupidity and a Slippery Slope

You don’t have to be Forrest Gump to say something that you regret.  It only takes a careless word, foolish act or fopa caught on film to ruin one’s reputation.  Perhaps, this is the difficult lesson Donald Trump is learning following his generalization of Mexican immigrants.  Whether you are blatantly sinning or do something stupid, is the media ready for the slippery slope for those who are politically incorrect?

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” Matthew 7:12.

I wouldn’t call the band Ratt prophetic, yet their classic song Round and Round reveals a simple truth, “what comes around goes around.”  Or as the apostle Paul proclaims, “you reap what you sow,” Galatians 6:7.  Taking this one step farther, Jesus makes the finger pointers aware of their actions, “you will be judged in the same manners that you judge others,” Matthew 7:2.  Therefore, before you pick up a stone to throw, jump on the pile of bashers or incite a mob, be careful what you wish for.

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.

Currently, Donald Trump is the media’s whipping boy.  However, tomorrow it could be you.  Sure, the elite do control the bully pulpit, yet the Lord controls the universe.  Subsequently, no one is perfect and stupidity is not immune to the wise.  I’m not sure what source or standard cultural leaders are following today, but when the shoe is on the other foot, a ground swell of forgiveness will likely emerge.  Therefore, follow the golden rule by treating others as you want to be treated.

by Jay Mankus

 

It’s Time to Straighten Up

In the 1994 classic film Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks plays a boy with a crooked back.  To fix this problem, a doctor places metal rods on his legs to address this physical ailment.  While running from a few enemies, Forrest is miraculously healed as he straightens up to flee from those throwing rocks at him.

Another doctor recounts a back problem that he was unable to treat in Luke 13:10-17.   Outside of Hollywood, pain doesn’t always vanish.  According to Luke, this woman had been like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for 18 years.  However, Jesus reveals the root of this condition, a crippling demon, Luke 13:12, sent by the devil to bind her during this time, Luke 13:16.  In the middle of a worship service, Jesus makes an altar call to release this woman from the grips of the enemy.

Today, similar dilemmas exist in the lives of children, adults and the elderly.  When specialists can’t diagnose illnesses, most fail to examine the spiritual side of this matter.  If you’re feeling bound and tied up by the stress and worries of life, perhaps an unknown enemy has entered your life, Ephesians 4:26-27.  The Lord’s altar is always open, Matthew 11:28-30, waiting to straighten up your life by the healing power of Jesus, Colossians 2:13-15.

Please share how you have been healed, touched or straightened up by Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

 

Not The Ending I Envisioned

Gary Sinise played Lieutenant Dan, a Vietnam squadron leader who holds a grudge against Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, feeling that his destiny was stolen by Gump’s heroic efforts.   Lieutenant Dan believed he was meant to die with his army on the battle field.  Thus, he confronts Forrest, turns to alcohol to drown his sorrow, spending the rest of his life bound to a wheelchair, at least in his mind.

Meanwhile, all Forrest wanted was to be Jenny’s girl, his only friend growing up.  Wherever Forrest was, he thought of Jenny, writing letter after letter, hoping for a storybook ending.  Unfortunately, Forrest received these letters back, returned unopened.  After momma died, Forrest turned to running to clear his mind, tracking thousands of miles across the country.  Despite getting his girl, she dies of H.I.V. before they can grow old together.

Whether you are reading a book, watching a movie or living an act from your life, often the scene doesn’t conclude as you wish.  Instead, the curse of Genesis 3:16-19 provides an alternate ending such as death, paralysis or suicide.  Today, I feel like Lieutenant Dan in the shrimp boat during Hurricane Camille.  However, I’m not telling God “is that all you’ve got?”  Rather, I’ve surrendered, whispering “I can’t take anymore disappointment!”

Psalm 33:10-11 provides the answer to those befuddled by the direction their life has turned.  The Lord foils the plans of nation and thwarts the purposes of people.  I have become a causality of this truth, unable to comprehend the logic of God’s ways.  Yet, somewhere in the pages the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 exists.  Getting to this scene and waiting is the hardest part.  May God’s unfailing love rest on you as you trust the Lord to complete the work that He has begun in you, Philippians 1:6.

by Jay Mankus

Even When It Hurts

Abuse, damage, injuries and pain are synonymous with hurt.  When the course of life turns in your favor, contentment, happiness and joy are expected.  However, as the tables turn, sending unexpected storms and trials, the true nature of a human being is unveiled.  In the heat of the moment, how will you respond to adversity?  One of the strangest stories of the Bible’s highlights this point, doing what’s even when it hurt.

Jephthah was a mighty warrior, following in the footsteps of Gideon, Judges 11:1.  Jephthah was moved by the Spirit of God prior to a battle with the Ammonites, prompted to make a vow to the Lord.  According to Judges 11:30-31, Jephthah promised to sacrifice the first living creature he came across on his way back home.  Perhaps speaking before thinking things through, this victorious leader didn’t see a soul until his one and only daughter came out to greet him.  Yes, this passage seems like a scene from Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does,” Judges 11:34-37.  Nonetheless, this is one of those head scratching verses of the Bible that illustrates keeping your promises, even when it hurts.

The story of Jephthah lives on today as a painful reminder for those make vows without contemplating the price to be paid.  David likely eludes to Jephthah in Psalm 15:4, emphasizing the importance of doing what you say.  Solomon also appears to be moved by this principle, adding the thought process one should go through before making any vows, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6.  In an age where many children have lost faith in their parents, letting them down time after time, make sure you keep your word even when it hurts.

by Jay Mankus

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