Love Will Bust You Out!
I was recently reminded of a powerful scene in a movie called The Hurricane. Rubin Hurricane Carter was a black boxer wrongfully imprisoned for murder. He determined to harden himself…to deny himself the need of anyone or anything…to shut the door on love. This, he believed, was the only way he could do the time in prison. He had served many years of a life sentence when a young black man named Lesra got a copy of a book Carter had written. He was inspired by the story and began to work on Carter’s behalf to secure an appeal of his conviction. Finally the appeal is heard. Lesra is visiting Carter in prison and they are awaiting the results from the court when they have a discussion that goes something like this. Lesra said, “If this doesn’t work (the appeal), I’m gonna bust you out.” “You’re gonna bust me out?” Carter asked. “That’s right, I’m gonna bust you out,” says Lesra. Something cold and previously untouchable deep within Hurricane begins to thaw as he says, smiling, “Hate put me in this prison, but love’s gonna bust me out.” “But if love doesn’t do it,” interjected Lesra, “I’m gonna bust you out.” Carter is overcome with this young man’s zeal, admiration, commitment to and love for him and he reaches through the prison bars to wipe away the young man’s tears with his hand. “You already have, Lesra. You already have.”
Sin creates all manner of prisons. It may be our sins or the sins someone committed against us that lock us in. If it is our sin and has not yet been discovered by others, it slams us into a prison of secrecy. We are so ashamed and isolated. We can’t hold our head up…can’t look a good person in the eye. We are certain that no one can understand. Why would they even want to? Who could we tell? Could we tell the church? No! Of course not! What would they think of us? How would they respond? Who else would be hurt? The church, we think, is much better at telling us what to do than at helping sinners find their way back home and then to be given a place at the table after they are back. After all, we have merely received the bitter and well-deserved fruit of our own sin. Leave us alone (so alone) so we can choke down that fruit in the darkness.
I’m just sure about this…God didn’t leave us here to condemn the already condemned. Hate has put them in a terrible prison, but love’s gonna bust ‘em out. Sin has so shamed them as to isolate them, but love’s gonna go find ‘em and bring ‘em home. How long have they been locked up? It’s time now. Love’s gonna pray, study, teach, serve, give, search, run, share, suffer, hope, lift, snatch, help, encourage, accept, welcome, hug, kiss, and celebrate them home. For these are the things Father God did for us. We will be devoted to a “home-coming of prodigals” (thank you, Rex). We will be a family free of older brothers who act like the older brother of Luke fifteen. We will be older brothers and sisters who share Father God’s heart for every returning prodigal. But what if they haven’t learned their lesson? What if they do it again? Well then, we will go searching again! And we won’t quit until our Father says so. Love (God and us) is going to bust them out of their dark prisons!