Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Thousand Words

Is there any relationship between the spiritual state of a man and a tree? Countless times in the Bible we see Jesus using trees in parables to teach and explain his relationship with us. For example in Matthew 12:33 Jesus tells us, "Make a tree good and it's fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and it's fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by it's fruit". Here you see the direct connection between a man and a tree. Again in John 15L4-5 Jesus say's:

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of its self, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit for without me you can do nothing".

So it is no surprise to me in Mark 8:22-25 when Jesus heals the blind man in Bethsaida that the first thing the blind man says he sees men as trees walking. Let's make no mistake about it, Jesus makes no mistakes! Is there something here that Jesus is trying to show us? Is it possible that this man who was once blind, after Jesus spit on his eyes was able to see the spiritual state of man? In learning about tree is there something we can possibly learn about the nature and spiritual state of a man?

The movie "A Thousand Words" gives us some insight on the relationship between a tree and the spiritual state of a man. We get to see how Jack McCall's words effect not only his spiritual and natural state, but other people as well. At the beginning of the film Jack McCall is a book agent and often lands his clients through deceit and persuasiveness, which comes from his gift of gab. He doesn't understand the effect of his words, neither does he consider the damage they do until an unexpected tree grows in his backyard. This tree is representative of Jacks spiritual state. Whenever he talks or writes a leaf falls off of the tree. When all the leaves fall off this tree Jack McCall dies in the natural. This experience teaches him to watch not only the words he says, but also the words he writes.

The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 17:28 "Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding". Jack McCall held his peace because he understood every word he spoke led closer to his death: "For by your words you shall be justified and by your words you shall be condemned" Matthew 12:37. Up until the final scenes of this film, Jack McCall's words were condemning him. With this level of awareness came a great level of responsibility, but even with this responsibility somehow Jack is still able to be irresponsible and waste his words.

Let's fast forward to the scene where Jack seeks to find his answer to life's problems in a bottle of liquor. The more he drank the more he became drunk. The more he became drunk the more he began to talk. The more he talked the more life he lost. (This moment in the film directly reminded me of the times I would foolishly sin knowing that the wages equalled death). Just as he was about to commit suicide with his foolish, careless, and reckless words, his assistant said to him "What are you doing? Stop! You're going to die!". This scene is so powerful because as Christians it shows us the importance of accountability. The Bible tells us in Ecclesicates 4:9-10 "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up". We must begin to realize that Jack made his problem known to his assistant. Without knowing Jacks situation how would have his assistant known to stop Eddie from talking? Since Jack was stiff-necked like so many of us Christians can be and are, he didn't want to stop talking. His sin blinded him and the consequences of his actions. Jesus let's us know that sin is deceitful! Since his assistant was there he balled his fist up and knocked him out cold! As believers we sometimes need some faithful brothers and sisters to straight up knock us out when necessary! A wise man when rebuked will become yet the more wiser.

The morning after Jack's deliberate sin or deliberate talking he see's his tree...his spiritual state. It is now that he finally realizes what he has done. It is now that he is remorseful and feels sorry for his sin. He realizes this tree is for real. He understands in the depths of his soul there is nothing that he can do to add leaves to his tree...add more time to his life. Have you ever been in this place before in your own life? That place where you you are completely naked and vulnerable before God. You messed up so bad you realize there is nothing you can do in your power that can save you? Everything you did usually led to more problems? More heartache, more disappointment, and more pain? I know I have.

One thing that Jack did was take a hold of what Bishop TD Jakes calls the NOW Moment. Paul say's it like this in Philippians 3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before" . It made no since for Jack to be stuck in the past over the words he wasted, so instead he chose to forget those things that were behind him and reach for those things that were ahead. I have come to tell you if your still alive then those things that are behind you, you have to forget and those things that are in front of you reach for! Grace and salvation are in front of you! It was now that Jack chose to tell those close to him that he loved them. Pointing to his soon to be wife and his child he utters this phrase: "You, me, baby, Eternity". He chooses these words wisely and as an effect it's the most powerful dialogue he's ever spoken. While standing at his fathers burial site, the man who abandoned him as a child he uttered his final words from his heart: "I forgive you". These words, which took his life are the same words that God used to restore his life. Consider Matthew 6:14-15 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". Luke 6:37 "...Forgive and you shall be forgiven"

...and by your words you shall be justified...

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