One of my favorite movies is 1987's Broadcast News, starring Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks and Wiliam Hurt. In it, Hunter portrays a super-conscientious TV journalist who finds herself inexplicably attracted to charming, pretty-boy anchor William Hurt who in the eyes of any "real" journalist, is a joke.
Hunter takes journalism very seriously. She has passionate opinions about it that she is more than willing to share with anyone who will listen. In fact, she is so intense about her opinions, she ends up offending or boring most of her peers. Poor Hunter, she's so misunderstood.
In one scene, William Hurt is lashing out at Hunter (but of course she doesn't even realize it). Their exchange goes something like this.
Hurt: It must be nice to always be right all the time.
Hunter: No, it's not ... it's a terrible burden!
It's easy to feel sympathy for Hunter. She is blinded by her passion, but she honestly means well. Underneath all those rigid journalistic ethics is a heart that is easily moved.
(Of course, I've just broken one of the rules in writing by being so anti-climatic. It's so much more effective to hit your reader with the big statement -- BAM -- and then work your way back to where it came from. Oh, and I'm breaking another rule as well ... digressing!)
Here's the big statement: She's no Holly Hunter.
She? She who? Who are you talking about?
The woman at my church who is always right, but whom no one feels all that sorry for. You don't find yourself drawn to her despite her exasperating ways, like Hunter's character. No, quite the opposite. In fact, if I were to rewrite Jean Paul Sartre's No Exit, I'd have to cast her in a leading role.
Look at me, being oh so very judgmental! It's not something I feel good about. Hearing of her latest attempts to spread the hate around, I found myself wondering how I might muster up some feelings of sympathy for her instead of disdain.
Didn't Christ die for her too? (Yes) Isn't she is daughter? (Yes) Aren't I called to love my enemy and pray for those who persecute me? (Yes)
I find it fairly simple to feel neutral toward her, but love? Only God could manufacture that!
I've had my share of run ins with her, being someone who can also be outspoken and passionate. I can't say that I've ever done anything to change her way of thinking. She is resolute. Now that's admirable, but unfortunately, her resolution is misdirected.
On the other hand, if she could be brought around, rescued from the Dark Side, wow, that's a whole lot of energy and determination. Correctly harnessed, it could really blow a hole in the enemy's front line.
Now don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that she is not a Christian. I can't swear one way or the other, never having heard her make a profession of faith. But I'd lean more toward saved than not. She's just hopelessly ... opinionated.
I've been thinking today about writing her a letter, sharing with her my side of this latest situation that she has herself so worked up in a frothy lather about. Why bother though? I'll probably only succeed in making her more resolute.
Yet even that murderous persecutor of the church, Saul of Tarsus, was turned. Oh, how he was turned. Yet I doubt anything I could say would equate to the bright lights and blindness that Saul experienced at his conversion on that road to Damascus.
I think I will pray that God will give me just the right opportunity to speak to her. She knows how entirely "attached" I am to the very thing she is opposing right now, so she'd probably avoid the conversation like the plague. However, I know that inside of her, there is a heart that is beating. Therefore, I believe that anything is possible.
Perhaps I shall become her champion. Perhaps I shall look at her and think, clearly, God isn't through with her yet. Perhaps I will encourage others to drop their rocks along with me. Perhaps she just hasn't been forgiven enough.
Jesus tells a story to a Pharisee named Simon who is throwing a dinner party of sorts in Jesus' honor. Simon is offended by a woman known to be a sinner who is paying way too much attention to this so-called prophet, Jesus of Nazareth. The story involves two men who have both been forgiven a debt ... one man from a small debt, the other from a monumental one. Jesus poses the question, "Which man do you suppose will love his master more?" Simon is quick to reply, "I suppose the one who has had a greater debt forgiven."
This next statement is not meant to sound like judgment, merely speculation. Perhaps the woman I'm writing about is lacking in love because she has somehow missed an intense, humbling experience of forgiveness. Or perhaps she gives out the same measure of love that she herself has received.
Perhaps she needs more loving.