Friday, May 27, 2011

Bruce Almighty: Surrender and Contentment

Bruce Almighty is a so-so comedy with a perceptive message. It is all about a man who is upset with life and the fact that God is not giving him the things that he wants. God gives Bruce his powers to see if he can do any better. Bruce finally realizes that we cannot hope to run things our way. We are the creatures. God is the creator. When we surrender to His will, we regain our correct position with God. This is only possible due to God’s Grace. Along the way, the film communicates a lot of truth.

Bruce has a girlfriend named Grace. Grace Prays. Prayer is an important symbol in this movie. For most it is a way of expressing displeasure with the way things are and trying to get God to change it. For Grace it shows relationship. Grace’s name is not a coincidence in this movie. Bruce gets to God through Grace.

When Bruce finally surrenders, his prayer is interesting: “You win. I’m done. Please, I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be God. I want You to decide what’s right for me. I surrender to Your will.” The Bible tells us that all sin is about us not allowing God to be God, but replacing Him with ourselves.

On the other hand, there is some weird Hollywood “new age” nonsense here: God says, “Bruce, you have a divine spark.” From a Biblical, Christian perspective this sounds like God saying He created Bruce in His image, and this somehow implies that Bruce’s sense of humor is from God. Fine. However, this is also a technical term for a lot of cults and New Age sects that teaches that we are all God and He is just the divine spirit etc.

A lot of the prayers that Bruce receives when he is in charge are pathetic: “Lord, feed the hungry and bring peace to all mankind.” This brings out even clearer the movie’s commentary on generic prayer and the way it is simple our self-centeredness manifested.

Sometimes, God asks Bruce questions as if He isn’t omniscient: “You want her back?” God is not ignorant of Bruce’s intentions. In the Bible God will use this technique to help His people realize things. (See the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.)

What is missing is in this story is Jesus. This is not a minor point. Jesus is the one thing that makes God’s grace available to people. Without His sacrifice, God’s forgiveness would diminish the possibility of a just and reasonable world. Our rebellion against God demands a response and God’s forgiveness at a high price is an amazing thing.

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