Sunday, December 14, 2014

Let Your Light Shine

This year a few big-budget motion pictures with Biblical themes have been released such as “Son of God”, “Noah”, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, and the remake of “Left Behind.” Except for “Son of God”, I haven’t seen any of these movies. One reason is many Hollywood productions take creative liberties to where they misrepresent Scriptural truths.

Then there’s a film coming out on Christmas Day about a committed Christian but omits the gospel message. “Unbroken” is a biopic about Louis Zamperini, an Olympic track star turned World War II hero who survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean, spent 47 days drifting on a raft, and then was imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese for over two years. Eventually Zamperini returned to Japan to extend forgiveness to his former captors.

I’m already familiar with Zamperini’s life. When I worked at Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures, one film we distributed was “Zamperini: Still Carrying the Torch.” This 37-minute documentary highlights one major event absent from “Unbroken.” In 1949, Zamperini gave his life to the Lord at a Billy Graham crusade.

A Christian Post article reported that Zamperini (who died this past July) and his children were okay with “Unbroken” not mentioning his faith in Jesus. Director Angelina Jolie was quoted as saying, “He [Zamperini] said he wanted the message to reach everyone. He said to make faith and forgiveness universal.”

The article also mentioned an answered prayer for Jolie. She wanted to shoot an important scene for “Unbroken” that needed sunlight but a storm had been going on for a while. Jolie then said, “I don't know what I'm going to do so I'll do what Louie would do.” She got on her knees and prayed for the very first time. Suddenly it stopped raining. The sun and a rainbow came out. After Jolie finished shooting the take and said "cut", it started raining again. 

Reading about Jolie’s answered prayer was encouraging but it's still disturbing “Unbroken” makes no mention of Zamperini's salvation. Becoming born again is the most important decision anyone can make. We should also remember what Jesus said in Mark 8:38, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

A song I remember hearing in Sunday School was “This Little Light of Mine.” Jesus told His disciples to be “salt” and “light” in this world. One way we make our light shine is sharing “the light of the world” with others. Jesus is “...the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:9) 

This Christmas, don’t let the world dissuade you from telling people what the real reason for the season is. Let your light shine!

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.” - Luke 11:33

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