A little slow, a little disjointed, but overall a great movie that is thought-provoking, inspirational, and interesting.
It is the story of William Wilberforce, a British Parliament member who was a champion and pioneer of many causes, namely the abolishment of slavery. What I found most interesting about Wilberforce was the man behind his dream and his service to God, John Newton. Newton's name is one not often recognized. But his song "Amazing Grace" sure is.
Newton had once been a slave trader. He then became a minister and an abolitionist and lit a fire under William. Newton's story alone is worth seeing the movie.
I planned to come back and say something really profound about the movie and its lessons. But I'm all out of profound. Instead my mind is whirling with ideas, quotes, images, and impressions. This is one of those movies that sticks with you for days and absorbs into your system in pieces.
So until I can narrow it down to something concrete and utterly profound (because that is so me, right?), here are my thoughts that I came away with tonight.
1. The song "Amazing Grace" is about a man finding redemption and forgiveness from his Savior after buying, selling, and transporting human cargo for years. John Newton knew the number of lives he was responsible for. He carried them with them for life.
2. God places people in our lives who are there to inspire us, teach us, and lead us to our better selves--lead us closer to fulfilling our purpose for Christ. John Newton was that person for William Wilberforce. Do you have someone in your life that is your mentor? Your spiritual confidant? If not, be in prayer for God to place a trusted Christian advisor in your life.
3. Just because God or the world says "no" doesn't mean that's the final answer. William fought for the end to slavery for YEARS before he saw it happen. He got discouraged. He got defeated--even physically sick from it. But knowing this was a passion and purpose God placed on his heart, he ultimately never gave up. He had a long wait, but the end results were felt around the world. They changed his life and they changed history. I don't want to mess up something like that. Do you? We have to be patient when God sends us out. He will deliver.
4. There is nothing so ugly that grace cannot cover. John Newton said he was haunted by the tens of thousands of ghosts of the slaves he had traded. They haunted his dreams. He saw them when he was awake. Yet he knew his Lord and Savior had paid the ultimate price to free him. In the end of the movie, John says, "I know two things for sure. I am a great sinner. And Christ is a great savior." I wish I could tattoo that quote on my heart. Christ died for our sins. And to not let go of our ghosts and our guilt after forgiveness is to deny the power of the cross--the power of Christ.
My final thought from the movie involves my thankfulness that men no longer wear powdered wigs, but that's for another day. (Watch the movie and TELL me you don't agree.)
Live this week in His grace.