“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” —James 1:19-20
Rarely does a movie come out that just “nails it”—gets to the heart of a matter and offers hope in an impossible situation. But last weekend, it happened. The movie Fireproof opened at theaters across our nation—and the creators of this movie (also of Facing the Giants) have given us the gift of a movie that speaks Truth into our hearts. And that Truth, in the person of Jesus Christ, has the power to change lives.
The storyline is of a firefighter whose marriage is in crisis, and getting worse by the moment. But this is not a movie just for First Responders—this is for everyone. This is a movie for everyone who has given up on their marriage, or known someone who has. This is a movie for everyone who has said something hurtful to their spouse—and thought about it later. . . you know, “Ready! Fire! Aim!” What good can come from lashing out first, then thinking and regretting what you’ve said in a moment of anger?
This is a movie which depicts a husband who isn’t getting respect, and a wife who isn’t getting love—and what a damaging cycle that can create (read Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ Love and Respect and Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages). This is a movie about how change comes with time and loving sacrifice. This is a movie about what it takes to examine a marriage with eyes to see, and to listen with ears to hear . . . perhaps for the first time.
This is a movie with humor, and with tears. In this movie we see life—and marriage—played out before us in ways that evoked these responses from two military members who attended Fireproof this weekend:
“The man in the movie reminded me a lot of myself. All the things he was saying are a lot of the stuff I say to my wife. I think maybe I have been taking the wrong approach to my marriage.”
“It was life-changing. It ministered to me directly; it was as if God was talking to me personally. I couldn’t help crying throughout the movie.”
The movie’s main character, Caleb, is played by Kirk Cameron. When Caleb announces his pending divorce from Catherine, his dad challenges Caleb to take forty days and follow the guidance in a book which he has prepared in his own handwriting—a book called The Love Dare. Day-by-day we watch on-screen as this hurting husband works through written assignments that require him to perform tasks designed to stretch his understanding of his wife and her needs. The Love Dare is a real book available in bookstores everywhere. Let me share some of the insights from it:
“The world says to follow your heart, but if you are not leading it, then someone or something else is. The Bible says that ‘the heart is more deceitful that all else’ (Jeremiah 17:9), and it will always pursue that which feels right at the moment. We dare you to think differently—choosing instead to lead your heart toward that which is best in the long run. This is a key to lasting, fulfilling relationships.” (p. viii)
“Kindness is love in action. If patience is how love reacts in order to minimize a negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance. Patience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing. One is preventive, the other proactive.” (p. 6)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen . . . Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)
“If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness.” (p. 11)
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
“There are two main reasons why people are rude: ignorance and selfishness.” (p. 22)
“(Love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
“Do you wish your spouse would quit doing things that bother you? Then it’s time to stop doing the things that bother them.” (p.23)
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
What if you are not close to a theater which is showing Fireproof? You can check online at www.fireproofthemovie.com or www.fireproofmymarriage.com for locations of theaters. What if you are overseas, or deployed? We recommend getting a copy of The Love Dare and using its insights and strategies to begin your own journey to a redeemed marriage. When the DVD movie goes on sale January 27th we encourage you to get a copy and watch this movie—no matter where you are or what you are experiencing in your marriage.
Words aimed at your spouse as if they were the enemy can do damage beyond what you ever intended. Why? Because your spouse knows that your words come from your heart. The Bible says, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) In order for change to take place in an injured marriage, the heart must first get right with the Lord. Go see the movie—I dare you!
Kendrick, Stephen & Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville, B&H Publishing Group, 2008)
Questions to Share:
1. Have you ever said anything hurtful to your spouse that you regretted later? If you have not apologized and asked for forgiveness, perhaps now is the time.
2. Has your spouse ever said anything hurtful to you? Begin the journey of redemption by reading and praying with these verses: Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, Colossians 3:13.