Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Heart of Texas

60 min, 2009
Rating: 8/10

Online reviews this documentary are exasperatingly vague: "an astonishing true story of tragedy and forgiveness" "a beautiful story of how God wants us to... forgive even what seems to be unforgivable." But what is it about? Most reviewers seem determined to leave it a mystery, explaining that if you go in without knowing what to expect, the emotional impact will be all the greater.

However I am going to divulge what's at the heart of The Heart of Texas because, even though this is a wonderful film, I know some will find it too hard to watch.

It is about a family that lost their 4-year-old daughter to a hit and run driver. That is tragic and the nightmare of every parent. But what happens next is amazing. Grover Norwood, the little girl's father, forgives the man who killed his daughter. And he not only forgives him, he empathizes with this man, Ulice Parker, who had no idea he had hit a person. Grover Norwood is concerned about the guilt the man is feeling. So he invites Mr. Parker to the funeral and seats him in the front row, right next to himself and his wife. The forgiveness he shows is absolute, beautiful, and almost unbelievable. As the synopsis puts it: "one man chooses an extraordinary and far-reaching path of forgiveness that the world has never seen."

But is this forgiveness the like of which the world has never seen? No. As Grover Norwood makes clear, what he has done is only a reflection, a shadow of what God has done for us. And that is why this is such a powerful film – this is a man trying to be Christ-like in circumstances in which we might excuse him for displaying the worst sort of behavior towards Mr. Parker. Instead, even as he grieves the loss of his daughter, he reflects God's grace and mercy in reaching out to Mr. Parker.

This is a remarkable story, and a well-produced film. It is important to say again that this is a documentary – it is a true story, not some made for Hallmark script. It is also important to note that these are not Reformed Christians, and some of what is said has an Arminian underpinning to it. So some minimal discernment is needed to evaluate what is expressed here verbally. But you are not likely to see Christ-life forgiveness demonstrated better in action. What God enables Grover Norwood and his wife to do is stunning, awesome, and so very beautiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment