It’s been about six months since I’ve visited a movie theater.
Back in high school my group of friends and I went just about every weekend. It was the social thing to do: get a large popcorn, some Trolli Brite Crawlers and hang out in the theater seats. The older I get, however, the more I’d rather go to happy hour with friends than drop the same amount of money for a movie. Why?
1) Social time has become more valuable to me. Partially because, with age comes more responsibilities and obligations, which eat away at the amount of time spent with friends and/or your significant other. (So why waste that time sitting in silence watching a screen?)
2) Few movies nowadays are even worth the ticket price.
Despite these thoughts of mine, I spent this past Friday night at the movies with my fiance, Alex. After doing some research earlier that week, I discovered that a movie he’d been wanting to see was at the local bargain theater—The Wolf of Wall Street. Instead of doing research on the film, we just figured that because other people had recommended it to us, it would be fine.
We couldn’t have made a bigger mistake.
Within the first five minutes of the feature film, I felt sick. After an opening scene where DiCaprio does drugs on a naked hooker, followed by thousands of curse words and quotes objectifying women, I thought the worst was over. I was dead wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie so crude. There were no redeeming qualities, and with each passing minute, my heart grieved more for the brokenness and sin that was being so radically displayed in front of me. Sex. Illegal drugs. Drunkenness. Breaking the Law. Swindling innocent people out of money. Infidelity. Violence. Beyond anything I’ve ever seen. I could almost hear the Holy Spirit whispering to me, “why are watching this, Lauren? This is not what my kingdom stands for.”
But it’s just a fake movie, right?
Actually, no. The Wolf of Wall Street is based on a true story. And I think that’s why it ate at me so much, because it reminded me that that level of desperation, arrogance, selfishness, emptiness, greed, suffering and pain exists in this world. Everyone else in the theater was laughing and having a good time, but I was writhing in my chair from inner angst. I knew the movie wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what to do. I needed a way out.
One hour into the movie, I texted my sister for advice. “Sis, I need your advice…I can’t watch this. And there are two more hours!” I typed. Her reply was something simple, yet profound. “You’re a strong willed woman. Just stand up and walk out.”
What a novel idea. I couldn’t believe it. Why hadn’t I thought of that? It was so obvious. The movie was making me uncomfortable and against everything I believed in and stood for. Sure, people would notice me get up, but why feel ashamed? My allegiance was not to them—my allegiance is to Christ.
Empowered by my sister’s words, I grabbed my coat and left. No turning back. (Thanks, sis.)
Life is full of situations that test our character and strength. Oftentimes, these moments can separate us from the crowd, and that can make it very hard to stand up and act according to what you believe. But we must listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading and not be afraid to stand, even if it’s not the most popular decisions, or no one else follows us.
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things and remind us of all he preached (John 14:26). The Spirit guides our thoughts and feelings, and we can know that God will always give us the strength to stand up for His Holy Word (Psalm 18:32-34). It’s OK to walk away.
If you believe this is true and you know something is wrong, don’t just stand there—we are called to do something about it.