Friday, January 6, 2012

Faithful Friday - "To Save a Life"

Thanks for stopping by for Faithful Friday! It’s a day set aside to share our faith – something from our Christian walk, whether that be a thought, devotion, experience, prayer request or a praise report. Although everyday is a day for sharing our faith in Christ, this is just one day set aside for this purpose. We would love to see this grow. Until we get our linky up and going, please just leave Joy a comment on her blog (Doodlebug), letting her know you’re participating, so we can stop by and visit!

To Save a Life. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to use that in my title, but after a little more thought, I decided to go ahead with it. It’s a strong phrase. It’s the name of a movie. Have you seen it? We first saw the preview for it on another inspirational DVD and decided we wanted to try to find it and watch it. It is a thought provoking movie. It is most appropriate for teenagers and adults, although at the rate kids are faced with certain issues today, I would also suggest it for some tweens, depending on that tween, and certainly with parental discretion. I would watch it with your child and most definitely follow it with discussion with your tween or teenager.

Here’s a little more information taken from the website:

Addressing the real-life challenges of teens and choices they face, To Save a Life dares to ask, “What’s your life going to be about?” Its powerful message speaks to those who desire to develop a life lived deliberately for Christ.

To Save a Life has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America "due to mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images, and sexuality." Unfortunately, teens today are hurting and facing challenges like never before—we see it in our own youth groups and local schools. (So does the film's writer, Jim Britts, who is an experienced youth worker.) Because of that, To Save a Life doesn't shy away from tough topics. It deals with social divisions, school violence, cutting, suicide, teen pregnancy and divorce–not in a graphic way, but in a way authentic to too many teens' real lives. And it points to a way out of these problems through following God's path and reaching out to others. Ultimately, it asks the question "What's my life going to be about?" and dares teens to answer with boldness, honesty, and open-handedness.

To Save a Life is teens' story, told in their voice with their music. Unfortunately, teens today are hurting and facing challenges like never before. This movie takes a realistic view of teen life and addresses themes of acceptance, choices, consequences, hurt, and love. It also deals with critical issues such as social divisions, school violence, cutting, suicide, underage drinking, teen pregnancy and divorce. The movie shows in practical, authentic ways how every action has ripple-effect on others. That's why we're working to make To Save a Life more than just a movie. The movie demonstrates the power of reaching out to students who are hurting. We want to see every teen have the opportunity to address these issues in a safe environment like a group study and recognize that his or her choices and actions can bring hope and love into a world of pain.

From my understanding, there are two versions, the “theatrical” and the “church”. Here’s what it has to say about that:

A few pastors felt that some families may be concerned with seeing certain content in To Save a Life at a church. With a desire to keep the reality of the film without sacrificing the story, we've developed a version of the movie with a decreased amount of bad language, a shortened bedroom scene and removal of more than half of the cutting scene.

The party scenes have been left as is and some bad language remains, but only where it was absolutely necessary for the story line or where editing it out would have created a noticeable gap in the flow of the movie.

Synopsis: When his childhood friend’s life ends in tragedy, Jake Taylor decides to use his influence as big man on the campus to make sure that it never happens again. Crossing social barriers, he befriends a loner, Johnny Garcia. When Johnny’s life quickly spirals out of control, will Jake have what it takes to stop him from the same tragic fate?

I’m not really sure which version we had because I can’t find it anywhere on the DVD. Ours was purchased at Barnes & Noble, although it is for sale at the Christian book stores. (I had a Barnes & Noble gift card). It is shown on the Family Christian website, as Dove approved and for ages 12 and up. I will tell you that I remember four curse words and they weren’t severe and those that are there unfortunately serve the purpose for the “teenage scene" because that's reality in most high schools.  But I did want to warn you. The “bedroom” scene doesn’t reveal much except for what is about to take place. It does briefly show “the cutting scene”. It makes me wonder if we have the edited church version, because of how little was shown, but I’m not sure.

This may all sound like “too much” or “heavy”, but it really does a great job of impressing the difference one person makes in the lives of others and how it won’t be the popular thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do. It also shows the flip side of those pretending to be one thing (in the church) and living another. That is (unfortunately) true too. There were two parts that especially brought tears to my eyes because I could just feel the hurt! That’s what this does. It makes you feel things and think. And hopefully dare to be different, kind, and compassionate, and to think for yourself, and live the Christian life out-loud.

This also brings to mind another movie – It’s a Wonderful Life, which by now, you all know that I love. Besides it being “Christmasy”, I like it because George, thinking of taking his own life, receives a gift. He gets the chance to see just how many people his life has touched and the difference he made by the part he played in their life. Now I know that doesn’t necessarily pertain to the Christian walk, but in a way it does. I wonder what imprint we leave on each person whose path we cross?

And that brings me to a real life story from my own teenage years that I’d like to share with you. As I shared before in my testimony, I asked Jesus in my heart at the age of 10, so I entered my teenage years as a Christian. Now I never wanted to not-be-nice to anyone, but there was this one particular boy that lived near me named “James”. I think I was maybe in 10th grade. He liked coming to our house. I suspect he found it different from his home life. He liked visiting us. He liked my parents, and I suppose me a little. He wasn’t exactly quiet or neat in appearance. I’m ashamed to say that although I never said anything ugly to him, I didn’t want him around and I avoided him….alot. When he would knock on our door and I knew it was him, I would run to the bathroom and hide out there unti he was gone and it was safe to come out. He would visit with mama and daddy and he’d ask about me and they would tell him I went to the bathroom. I guess he thought I spent a lot of time in the bathroom.  :)   But when he would see me at school the next day, he would say, “Hey Tammy, when I was at your house last night……” And he would go on, but he always made a point about mentioning he was at my house. It sounded somewhat more intimate than I wanted. After all, I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. And although I spoke to him at school, it was as little as I could get by with, and I hurried past (and cringed) because he had just announced (very loudly) that he had been at my house. And that was pretty much the regular routine. Every once in awhile, I’d stay out of the bathroom, just so as not to be “so rude” and make him suspicious. One particular weekend, I think it was the summer between 10th and 11th grade, my mom and dad went on a little weekend trip with our pastor and his wife. My best friend, Melissa, came to stay with me. We were pretty proud to be staying there by ourselves. Well, James came knocking at my front door. Melissa and I avoided him at all costs, even hiding inside, so he couldn’t see us and I know he knew we were there because he had seen us out earlier. I didn’t feel very good about myself.

Well I was discussing all of this, including all the times at school, with my mother some time later after her return. She asked me one question. “Do you think you acted like a Christian girl”? I knew the answer to that question. So, I went to James’ house the next afternoon and knocked on his door. He answered the door to my relief (I was so apprehensive that I might have backed out otherwise). I apologized to him. I told him I was a Christian girl and that I wasn’t behaving as a Christian should or treating him the way a Christian should. He said it was okay. It wasn’t okay, but at least I knew I had his forgiveness. Then I started worrying that he had taken my apology as “more than that”, but nevertheless, I felt better. :)  And after that, I didn't avoid him, although I didn't go out of my way to find him either.  He actually seem to take on a role of "protecting me".  :) 

I tell you this to make a point. It wasn’t about me doing something wonderful. I was just that I was convicted and listened to the Lord’s nudging as to do what He wanted of me. I can’t always say I did that. But that day, I did. I hope that made some kind of impression on James’ heart. I don’t know if I will ever know that in this lifetime because he moved away not long afterwards. This movie that I mentioned today brought this all back to me because James could have been that guy in the movie being excluded and bullied. I am so glad that I listened to the Lord at that time and chose to represent Him at that time. It was only by Him that I was able to do it though. I would have never done that of myself.

If we only could see how many lives we touch and leave an imprint. What kind of imprint are we leaving? It really does make a difference. It makes a difference for that one.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or similar experiences. Leave me a comment and share (please)!  Oh and be sure to stop by Joy's blog even if you aren't participating--she has a great post on today!

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great weekend and be blessed!

~ Tammy ~


Patty Sumner said...

Great story Tammy. I am still confinced and convicted that it is the simple things that make a difference in life. Following the Lord's leaderership in making someone feel welcome, a smile, taking time just to let someone know you care. So many people are all around us with so many troubles and we seem to walk on by without a simple smile. People need the Lord....are we being Jesus to them. Paul wrote so many times about being in chains for the cause of Christ. He literally was but he definitley did not let that stop him from showing Jesus to those around him. Thanks, I needed to read this. God always confirms through other belivers what he is dealing with you on. Blessings!

Catty Wampus said...

a movie that we recently rented was not advertised as Christian, but it was; and it is a very good movie for families; called the Way Home I think; I dont ever remember seeing an ad for it; but Dean Cain was in it. It makes you think about what is really important in life; Hugs to you , Merrie

Walking on Sunshine... said...

That's a great story. And great that you realized what you were doing was wrong at such a young age! Such a wise mother you had! I believe my son saw this movie with his youth group. They were all impressed with it! Enjoy your weekend!

Anonymous said...

7 Days in Utopia is a wonderful christian themed movie with Robert Duvall and Lucas Black.

I'm guess I'm in the minority. Tho I believe the movie has a good storyline I can't see having bad language in the Lord's house....just my opinion tho.

I enjoy your blog Tammy