“We are not simply to bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice; we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself…Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
My husband and I recently went to see American Sniper. I knew going into it that it would be a difficult movie for me to watch. I have a tendency to be very sensitive and overly emotional, so much so, that I cried twice in one day because of an OnStar commercial! But after hearing from so many others, I felt that this was an important movie to see. My husband would argue that the only reason I wanted to see it was because of Bradley Cooper, which is entirely not true — ok maybe it’s a little bit true — but not the only reason. To be honest, I needed to see a side of humanity that I often choose to ignore, not out of indifference but more likely out of fear.
To say American Sniper was difficult to watch is an understatement. There were times throughout the movie that I closed my eyes, covered my ears, prayed silently and not so silently, and cried.
It was raw.
It was ugly.
It was the reality of war and the world we live in.
I’ve tried to imagine that these atrocities only exist in the movies as the haunting images will forever be etched in my mind, but unfortunately we all know the truth. Although this was the story of one soldier, it was so much more than that. It was a reminder of the sacrifices that are made every day — that we take for granted — and the peace and freedom that is available to us because of the dedication of so many. Even though I told my husband (through tears) that I could never watch “that kind of movie” again, I’m glad that I watched this one.
There is no denying the evil that exists in this world or the truth that there are some brave men and women who are willing to risk their lives to put an end to it — Chris Kyle was one of those men. His story, their stories, should be told! It isn’t easy to hear or watch but quite often the truth just isn’t easy and as harsh as the reality of war is, it is still reality.
We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that evil doesn’t exist or shrink back from it.
It’s been here since almost the very beginning and we’ve seen it time and time again.
Just a mention of the Holocast brings to mind thoughts and images of unfathomable evil.
The inhumanity of slavery throughout history and that still exists today, even in our own backyards, is evil beyond our comprehension.
Stories of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who abducted thousands of children to use as sex slaves and child soldiers — forcing them to torture and murder their own parents and family members — seem like some nightmarish legends too unbelievably evil to be true.
We witnessed it as we watched the first and second planes strike and the Towers fall, the Pentagon’s partial collapse as the third plane hit it’s target and as the fourth plane failed to reach it’s intended mark because of the courageous efforts of some who came face to face with evil and boldly took action.
The magnitude of that type of evil is completely overwhelming.
That night as we watched the credits roll on the big screen, the sold out crowd exited the theater in silence and I struggled to hold it together — when all I really wanted to do was completely fall apart.
It was heartbreaking to watch and almost too much to take in. I found myself without words but each time I tried to speak emotions took over and I just couldn’t.
Still, I’m thankful that what I saw forced me to see the brutality of war as it truly is which only served as a catalyst that transformed my prayers.
I pray for our soldiers — for protection from their enemies and that they would overcome the evil in this world. I thank God for them — the soldiers who are on the front lines, those behind the scenes, those who have returned broken in both body and mind, and for those who offered the ultimate sacrifice — their very lives.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
I pray for their families and I think of my own family members and friends who have served and are still serving all around the world.
I wish thank you didn’t seem so inadequate. I wish my words hadn’t been so few.
We can not remain silent.
We can not fail to act.
We can not be afraid to tell the hard stories.
No matter how much evil we encounter here on this earth we’re not left without hope. Along with evil there is also good — undeniable good. And we have the promise that one day Jesus will return and evil will no longer have a place. I look forward to that day.
I don’t think I can honestly say that I loved this movie (I also didn’t hate it) but only because of the subject matter. I think it was very well done and so true to the realities of war and the lives that are affected by it. It opened my eyes and gave me a heart for those diligently fighting and a desire to pray more fervently for peace.
Will you pray with me?