If you’ve ever seen Pretty Woman*, then you probably remember the scene where Richard Gere (Edward) and Julia Roberts (Vivian) are discussing her past.
After listening to her story, he gently says, “But you could be so much more.”
Her response, “Yeah, but the bad stuff is easier to believe.”
Why is it the negative, the salacious, the cruel and cutting statements about another person are the ones we want to believe? Is it that we want to feel superior? Do we want someone to be “taken down a peg or two”?
As a new believer, this part of my “old life” was the most difficult from which to break free. It is also the easiest in which to be tangled again. The lies are like a vine entangling my feet and hands until I fall in despair to the floor. Wondering if I will ever get up again.
The whispers of the enemy can come over us all, like a tsunami. Powerful, overwhelming, and devastating. They tell us we are wrong, we cannot accomplish the changes we are given through Christ. They tell us there is no point to try getting back up on our feet. It’s useless, we are useless.
It is only possible to cut through the lies with a sharp blade, The sharpest blade in fact, The Sword of the Spirit. It has the power, the Truth to cut everything else away.
When Pretty Woman came out, I sat in the darkened theater and sobbed. I understood where “Vivian” was coming from, The person she felt she could never become. She doubted the kindness of “Edward,” she understood the cruelty of “Stuckey.” She couldn’t receive “Edward’s” gentleness and when it was offered, she drew back and ran away.
The Woman at the Well, Mary Magdalene, the Woman Caught in Adultery, they were all the same way. They knew how to handle cruelty, shaming, and brutality. How to steel themselves from the words, the sneers, the looks.
But the kindness and gentleness of Christ? What was the catch?
Reading in the Gospel of John, it becomes evident that Jesus is changing things. The way religion is viewed, how the Sabbath is to be honored, how Grace not justice, is the way to reach sinners. Jesus had come to teach, show, love, forgive, encourage, bless, and challenge the people He met.
He came to show us that the Bad Stuff might be easier to believe, but if we believed in Him and the One who sent Him instead, we could understand and experience what is truly Good.
Best Beloved, once we open our hearts to Jesus, we can begin to hand Him all the bad stuff and He will throw it away, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103). He will instead, begin to open our eyes to see what He sees. Someone worth dying for, someone worth leaving Heaven for, someone who is loved beyond all comprehension. The very apple of God’s eye.
Let’s encourage one another to remember Who we are in Christ and Whose we are, children of the Living God.
*Pretty Woman, (1990), Touchstone Pictures, Garry Marshall, Dir., Richard Gere, Julia Roberts