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Faith Imagined: Shutter Island Moment

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

May 2, 2010

Shutter Island Moment

I watched the movie Shutter Island, and it prepared me for what God was about to do in my life. I'm always reminded that God can use anything (Christian or not) to get His perfect will done. If you haven't watched the movie, this post will spoil it for you. I'm sorry.

At the end of the movie, Dicaprio's character realizes he has been living the past several years in an insane asylum in an altered state. He believed he was continuing his U.S. Marshall work, trying to uncover a conspiracy at the hospital. His doctors needed to bring him back to reality, so they planned an elaborate role play experience, allowing Dicaprio's character to uncover the "conspiracy." The plot became layered and confusing until it climaxed with an intervention of facts.

Dicaprio's character wouldn't believe the information at first. Then, he became disoriented between what was real and fake. But finally, he fell to his knees in despair. He carried guilt from tragedy that occurred in his life, and he couldn't handle the fact that he was a monster.

The day following the intervention, Dicaprio's character slipped back into the altered state. Before the orderlies took him to get a lobotomy (which would make him passive), he asked his doctor, "Which would be worse: To live as a monster or die as a good man?”

God planned a Shutter Intervention for me three days later. I noticed that I had been criticizing people, and I couldn't understand why. I kept reprimanding myself for criticizing others, but I knew it wouldn't go away unless I let God pull out the root cause. I prayed and asked God to help me, and He quickly unlayered the sin. I criticized because of arrogance. I became arrogant because I was covering up for jealousy. I was jealous because I was insecure. But why was I insecure?

I drove to the beach and continued reading the book, Why? Because You are Anointed! by T.D. Jakes. And there in the car I was confronted with reality. I am selfish. I see life through the lens of "I" and my entire opinion of people, actions and circumstances is altered. I was insecure because I am not perfect. And because I idolize self, I couldn't handle the fact that I too am a monster.

T.D. Jakes writes: "The most prevailing sin of all mankind is sin of selfishness...the idolizing of self (self idolatry). Selfishness is the epitome of satanic, demonic, and rebellious sinful motivations and behavior."

My entire life I have seen everything from my own perspective, which is blurred by the cataracts of sin. If I were truly seeing life through the lens of God, I would never have those negative feelings of jealousy, hate, lust, pride, envy, discontent, etc.

When I realized that I had been seeing everything through an altered state, I became disoriented. I could barely get a grip of what God was teaching me. How could I apply this new truth? My understanding of everything is tainted, and I didn't know how to begin seeing clearly.

I was about to call it quits. There was no way I was going to be able to live my life with a new set of eyes. But God reminded me of what Dicaprio's character asked: "Which would be worse: To live as a monster or die has a good man?"

The reality is none of us are good enough. We all have tragedy. We all have sinned. We are all monsters. If we truly understood how ugly we are compared to God's beauty, we would all fall to our knees in despair. But Jesus died a good man to save us from ourselves. Yes, I'm a monster, but Jesus lived a sinless life and died to redeem me. If I can focus on Him being good and see through His eyes, then I don't have to worry about living in an altered state. If I can live by grace, I can live free.

"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body
also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of
darkness" - Luke 11.34

What about you? Have you ever realized that you were seeing a situation or person through the wrong perspective? How do you try to prevent seeing life through the wrong eyes?

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Blogger Braley Mama said...

I feel like I almost always look at things wrong. I can be way to sensitive and take thins people say incorrectly. This is a security thing too, and a selfish motivation. My pastor was saying a few weeks ago. We all have enough self esteem, who do we look at first in a picture...ourselves. We need to do the opposite of what the world says, and keep our eyes of off ourselves. And put them on Him! Great post!

9:13 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

As a pastor's wife, this can be difficult because when I pray for a discerning heart to see others as Christ sees them, I often see both strengths AND weaknesses very clearly.

He tells us through training, we learn how to discern good from evil. The question is, what do we do with it?

I think it was Oswald Chambers who said that God never gives us a spirit of discernment to criticize others but rather to pray.

When i pray over what I perceive to be sin in someone else's life, then I am able to go on loving, praying and ministering to them in a way that pleases God. However, when I don't- then watch out! i begin to get irritated, frustrated over what a "wicked person" they are and then hop on my self-righteous horse while galloping off in the wrong direction!

On the subject of insecurity and jealousy: I always get a particular knot in my stomach when I begin to succumb in either one! It's always the same feeling.(God is good)Of course the only way to get rid of it is to pray and to think Truth!(Sorry so long winded)

10:00 PM  
Blogger Lynda Young said...

When my relationship with God is strong I can see so much more because I'm able to see more clearly through God's eyes.

When I let that relationship slide a little, then I look at things as if I were looking through a broken mirror. Everything gets distorted.

God always brings me back and reminds me how much I need him.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Nice post! God has brought me back to Him over the past year very painfully! I have learnt that He is all I need and I am thankful!

8:10 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

I pray all the time to see people through God's eyes. Beauty is so subjective and status is so important in society and I find myself labeling people through soceity's methods rather than Gods.
Thank you for this entry!

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Only God's Word consistently flowing through my mind and heart can keep me having His perspective. It's amazing how FAST I lost His lens when I'm away from His Word. It's so true that when we are in sin, there's a root cause. It almost always goes back to our pride.

Be sure to email your mailing info to me; you won the purse sized copy of the ESV Bible! Congratulations!


10:30 AM  
Blogger cheryl said...

Having OCD has made me very prone to what you've just described. Think "Monk". I had to have everything and everyone a certain entire world had to be a certain way...for me to be comfortable in had to be my way. It's still an everyday struggle, but God is slowly helping me to see that nothing happens by chance, everything is working out according to His purpose and will. So when I come across something or someone that just makes me want to lash out or try to avoid, God reminds me that although I see it as bad, this is the way He wants it and He has nothing but good things in mind. Much of the time, I live in blind faith, I'm not told how things are going to work out. But I truly believe this too is the way God wants it. If I didn't have OCD I might never have had the opportunity I do have of learning what it actually means to surrender to God's will and trust Him.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

Thoughts to ponder, wow. The Lord has been nudging me about my selfish ways lately,and in some areas I've been cooperative, others not so much. Good wake up call, thanks for sharing:)

7:32 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Wow, when I read `Selfishness is the epitome of satanic, demonic, and rebellious sinful motivations and behavior." I was like the deer in the headlights. I pray the Lord to help me in my selfish ways.
Thanks for sharing

7:53 PM  
Blogger B His Girl said...

I see things, ugly things always trying to take root in my life. I plead for mercy. I want to be an encourager for others and not be me focused. Sometimes I see the green monster though. I need Jesus every day/moment to do the right thing. I recently had a 'thing' to deal with that required me to die to myself so I could leave a fragrance of the Lord. I humbled myself and ask God to help me honor Him in the situation. He did. He changed my heart and I had peace over the whole thing. Only God could make that happen. Great post. B

9:50 PM  
Blogger christy rose said...

This was so good! Dying to selfishness is the only way to truly live! To live is Christ! Amen! Now I need to go watch that movie. :)

10:28 AM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

As always I love your perspective Alisa. I've been asking God to help me to see others as he sees them, through the eyes of love and not of judgement.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Shauna Kemp said...

This was such an amazing, powerful movie! It is awesome what we can learn from fiction! Even if not from the bible. Great post, thanks so much for posting it. :) Great verses too, really can draw from those too. I definitely hear you on this! I caught that monster comment at the end as well... WOW! I had a couple of sleepless nights after this one... LEO did a good job, too good! LOL. Thanks again! ~Shauna

7:00 AM  
Blogger A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...

Let me tell you what I did last night, dear sweet new friend!

For one, I tried commenting on here... but my computer froze and refused to allow me.

And two, after reading this post (trying really hard not to see all that I wasn't supposed to see - so as NOT to ruin the movie), I went and bought the book on Kindle and tried to rent the movie online. Couldn't!.... so, being too lazy to run get it, I bought Shutter Island on Kindle in book form too.

In other words, I LOVED this post!!!! Can you tell????!!! Great word!

P.S. You made my girls' day! What a sweet thing you are!

Blessings to you!!!!!

12:59 PM  
Blogger A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...

Okay..... I'm a "sayer" ((*smile*))... I had need to "say" more!

One thing I realized a long time ago is that we are all so blind to ourselves. We quickly see the sin of another, yet often can't see the sin of ourselves... even the fact that we often are guilty of doing that very same sin! I've wonder so much about that. Why, I've wondered? Why??? And it has horrified me to know that no doubt I do it too. I've said to my mom so many times, "I wonder what I'm really like that I cannot see?" And I hate that I'm blind to it. OR am I??????

I finally decided that we probably can't stand to see the ugliness of our nakedness (the monster we are, as you put it). For after all, we're good at painting our blemishes, or covering them well with clothes, or getting them removed, or fixed, or reshaped, or recolored. Rarely are we totally exposed. It's too embarrassing! Too humbling! Too horrifying! It's scary! It's awful! You know?!

I could write forever on this. God has taught me so much on this subject. But I am trying to refrain myself.

I did want to say this though. I agree with you. We're all a monster without the salvation of our Savior. And then, we are inside a continual fiery trial of some kind or another that is purposed to attempt to burn the monster still inside us out! None of us has room to gloat or boast about how wonderful we are. If not for Him, we're nothing but evil!

I don't know if this fits here, but I kept thinking of this blog I posted not so long ago as I reread this. If it fits, yay! If it doesn't, ignore it. For some reason it somehow said something to me. Basically, I think, it's the fact that we're all skins that a heart beats in! We all sin. We all cry. We all hurt. We've all hurt others. No one has reason to point or be jealous of another. We all need mercy. We all need love. And we would all be condemned without the grace of Jesus who died to save us! If not for Him, I'd be past no sin.

Oh... I just reread the questions in your last paragraph. Perhaps that is what prompted my thinking to this blog that I'm sharing!

"Have you ever realized that you were seeing a situation or person through the wrong perspective?" Yes! Indeed! You'll find one example of mine in the post below:

1:29 PM  
Blogger kanishk said...

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6:24 PM  

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