One of my favorite movies is “A Time to Kill”. Set in the heart of Mississippi in 1998, the movie is about a young black girl who is raped by two white men. Afraid that they would get away with the crime the way men in a neighboring county did, the girl’s father Carl, played by Samuel L. Jackson, shoots them in a southern Mississippi courtroom in front of numerous witnesses. His fate lies in the hands of a young white lawyer named Jake, played by Matthew McConoughey. It’s a griping movie dealing with issues of truth, race, and equality. As the movie begins, it’s just another trial for the young lawyer, but as he connects with the African American community, he places his family in danger as he tries to find justice. The most powerful scene in the movie is when Jake makes his final remarks to the jury before deliberation. Rather than go through a script about justice and racism, Jake begins to tell the story of Carl’s daughter on the day she was raped. He fights back tears as he tells the details of her brutal attack. Up to this point the story of the daughter has been inadmissible as it has nothing to do with whether Carl committed his crime or not. However, as Jake finishes sharing the story, the jury now broken hearted, can no longer look him in the eye. He asks them to do one thing. Imagine if it were their child. Many times in life we are put in a position to make a decision that impacts the life of another person.
Like a jury, we set our emotions aside and base our decisions on the facts. We approach the situation as nothing more than a task that must be completed. We tell ourselves not to give to a homeless person because they’ll just buy alcohol. Not considering the emotions and feelings that we would be facing if placed in the same situation. As Christians our responsibility is to do the opposite. We’re asked to go through the emotions and react, not think it through and make the rational decision. Christ demonstrated this over and over during his ministry. How many of us would lose our cool and start flipping tables and chasing people out of our church lobby for not respecting it? Jesus let his heart make all the decisions. He asked His disciples to leave jobs and families to live an unplanned life of service. There was no well thought discussion weighing the pros and cons. It was a heartfelt response. Something they couldn’t explain, but knew was right. When your heart is in tune with God your personal ministry takes on a whole new meaning. What thrills the heart of God now thrills your heart. What breaks the heart of God now breaks your heart. You are free to react and let the emotions come out. David was considered a man after God’s own heart, not because he led a perfect life, but because he let his emotions lead him. He danced and sang and prayed and wept much the same way that Jesus did in his ministry. Jesus’ condemnation of those who “had it figured out” and His acceptance of prostitutes and thieves is what led him to the cross. My prayer for you today is that you would laugh and cry, hate and love as Jesus did; that your heart would be open to the joys and pains of those that you come into contact with.