I recently read this story by Steve Brown which also reminded me of the movie Seabiscuit. These stories remind me of those of who have been hurt, abused, broken, disillusioned, and battered in the church. Because of our experiences are we now believing we are bad or broken? Have we forgotten what God has made us for? This was definitely part of my story for the last four years, and at times I could even see it in myself but I couldn’t escape from it until others walked along side me and helped me out of my entrapment. Are you believing you are bad or broken? There is a way out! Are you at a point to help others out so they can find the freedom, love, grace, and healing power of God? If you are, please reach out to those around you because you are desperately needed. There are far more people around you who need your help than you probably realize.
“I once had a German shepherd. His previous owner had beaten him. His name was Calvin, and he was one big, strong dog. He just didn’t know it. I gave him the name Calvin because I thought it would help him with his extremely bad self-image. It didn’t. In fact I’ve never seen a dog expect punishment more than Calvin. It wasn’t that he had done anything wrong; it was just that he had somehow gotten the idea he was a bad dog and that my sole purpose in life was to beat up on him because he was such a bad dog. No, I never hit Calvin. I didn’t raise my voice to him. I praised him, petted him, scratched behind his ears, gave him treats, and did everything I know to foster a good self-image. Nevertheless, Calvin flinched every time I came near him. Do you know what happened? He became the bad dog he thought he was. German shepherds are supposed to protect and defend their owners – Calvin ran and hid under the bed. German shepherds are supposed to lie at the master’s feet – Calvin wouldn’t come near me. German shepherds are supposed to be strong and courageous – Calvin was a weenie. I really believe Calvin felt sort of uncomfortable and abnormal because I didn’t do what he expected me to do – punish him.” (Scandalous Freedom by Steve Brown, p222-223)
Seabiscuit is one of my favorite movies because it represents such a real image of life, especially for anyone who has been abused, rejected, or battered emotionally. I am not a horse racing fan, but the overall message of hope and promise in the movie really touches me. It is a story about three men and a horse who are all banged up and broken. Like us, these men and this horse have walked through hardships and they show the scars and pain of that. Seabiscuit had been bought and sold repeatedly, had failed to perform, and had taken to heart that failure and worthlessness. He was actually trained to lose so he would help others win. He was frightened, bruised, and defiant until trainer Tom Smith and jockey Red Pollack come along.
Here are some quotes from Tom about Seabiscuit.
Tom Smith: “You don’t throw away a whole life just ’cause it’s banged up a little.”
Tom Smith: “You don’t throw away a whole life just because it has a few bumps.”
Tom Smith: “He just needs to learn how to be a horse, again.”
Tom Smith: “He’s so beat up it’s hard to tell what he’s like. He’s forgotten what he was born to do. He just needs to learn how to be a horse again.”
All of us get beaten up, bruised and damaged in the course of life. We need to believe that we are not defined by that. We may be misunderstood and mishandled, we may even lose our way for a time, but God has created us with purpose. God doesn’t “throw away a whole life just ’cause it’s banged up a little.” He believes our lives are worth redeeming. He believes we are worth another chance. We may have to learn how to be a man/woman again, but he is willing to walk through that with us.