Lessons from “I Can Only Imagine”

If you are an Amazon Prime member, take note – The movie I Can Only Imagine is now available for streaming FOR FREE for Amazon Prime members. Woo-hoo!

I saw this movie in the theater and was blown away by the power of Bart Millard’s story. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this movie, it’s the life story of Bart Millard, lead singer of the Contemporary Christian band Mercy Me, and what led him to write the popular song, I Can Only Imagine, which I heard on a secular radio station because I was not yet listening to Contemporary Christian music.) The movie was just as powerful the second time around from my living room!

This week, I’d like to focus on some life lessons that I have learned that are are inspired by this quote from the movie:

My dad was a monster. I saw God take him from being the man I hated to the man I wanted to become.”

I, too, have experienced seeing the transformation from monster to man, although my story is different from Millard’s. In his case, God truly did transform his father, who was repentant whereas in my case, many of my abusers were not. While it could be easy to watch this movie and assume that the father had to be transformed before Millard could stop seeing him as a monster, my experience was different. I have learned that forgiveness also brings about this transformation, and the other person’s participation is not necessary for this to happen.

Most Christians are (sadly) resistant to giving forgiveness (although they certainly want to receive it!) because they don’t understand what forgiveness really is. That was my story for decades. In fact, if I could have taken a red pen and crossed out the passages of the Bible I didn’t want to have to obey, my starting point would have been those passages commanding me to forgive those who hurt me. The actions of my childhood abusers devastated me – they shattered my heart and negatively influenced every single aspect of my life. (I am not exaggerating.) They didn’t deserve forgiveness! And yet, forgiving them was the very tool that God used not only to heal the wounds they inflicted but also to transform my perception of them from monsters into broken people. I’ll explain how this week.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cover of I Can Only Imagine. Courtesy Amazon.]

 

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