Drama, love, sacrifice, pain, suffering, courage, just to name a few, those are the things that draw people into a story. This is why people have loved Les Misérable. I was so slow in wanting to see it, one, because it’s the popular thing to do and I’m kind of rebellious at heart, not wanting to do what everyone else is doing. Two, because it was ALL singing. Three, because the theater is uncomfortable and always cold. But this weekend out of love for my husband, I planned a date and we went. I’m so glad we did (although my back is killing me from the seat and it was freezing!). It was a refreshing night together and we got to relish in all the ways it is an incredible picture of the gospel. It’s not just a movie, there’s a bigger story in the history of humanity that it tells, and it’s not just the love, sacrifice, courage, suffering, hope & mercy that draws people in, but God who is the One who embodies all those things (people may not realize that, but it’s true).
Two things that struck me:
One, it was so heartbreaking to me that in the end, Javert takes his own life. He’s so bound by the law that he cannot accept the mercy that Jean Valjean has shown him despite his continual hunt to take him down. Have you ever met someone like that? They cannot accept the grace of God or the grace others want to extend? That they would rather stay in their torment than to take the most incredible gift of mercy and grace and find true love and freedom? Part of me is like this still. Trying to be good enough on my own, struggling to admit I need the mercy of God and grace of others every day.
I think that my favorite moment in the movie though was near the very beginning. Jean Valjean is invited into the home of the Bishop. In the middle of the night he steals some silver and rushes out. He’s arrested and brought back to face the bishop. The bishop lies for him and says he did indeed give him the silver and say’s “But you left without the best, handing him even more silver.” Throughout this encounter, his kindness and mercy, him believing in Jean Valjean and pointing him to God, it changed his life. That’s what God has done with us. In our most rebellious moment, in our most shameful act, God reaches down and intervenes saying, “I love you so much and here I’ll give you even more. I’m willing to sacrifice it all for you, even though I know you may not accept it.”
We never see that Bishop again in the story. He never gets to see what an impact he had on Valjean’s life. It makes me want to continue to love others, show mercy and point to the most amazing savior, Jesus, in every interaction because we never know when it could change someones life. We may not ever get to see the outcome this side of eternity but one day we will. I’m far from doing this, I have a long way to go and too often I’m too selfish to see past my own daily happenings, but I hope each day I can grow in this.
What did you think? Have you seen it? What was your favorite moment in the movie?