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True Love in the Movies 1

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Maggie Carpenter doesn't know what kind of eggs she likes. In Runaway Bride, Maggie's favorite type of eggs keeps changing to whatever kind her guy likes. She's so indecisive and fickle, it's no surprise she changes her mind about her love life, too. She gets close to a guy and then bolts—not just from one wedding but four.

Maggie runs from love because she is scared of commitment. She pushes away the men who love and care about her. And so, whether on a motorcycle, a horse, or on foot, this almost-bride flees from her marriage ceremonies.

Maggie isn't alone. People often find various reasons to run from relationships—and not just romantic ones. I've sometimes lost focus in my relationship with God and run from his love. But kind of like the man who eventually wins Maggie's heart, God doesn't just let me run. He pursues me with his love.

I think romantic movies give us a slight glimpse of how God pursues us. We're moved by romantic stories because we long for someone to love us like we see on screen. We badly want to find comforting and exciting love like these movie characters find. Those desires for love come from God. Sure, he created us to want romance with each other, but he also gave us a hunger for love because he knew it'd draw us to the ultimate source of love: him.

Here are four qualities of God's love I've discovered in romantic movies.

In The Princess Bride, Westley is driven by one goal—to return to the love of his life, Buttercup. Everything Westley does, from becoming a pirate to storming Prince Humperdinck's castle, directly relates to saving Buttercup from her captors and being with her again.

He scales a mountain, duels a master swordsman, wrestles a giant, braves the fire swamp, is captured, tortured, and even dies. Or at least he's mostly dead. Still, he keeps going, motivated by love. I'm always in awe of Westley's determination. He gives it all for Buttercup, even though she gives up hope because she thinks he's gone forever. Only because of Westley's selfless pursuit is the couple finally reunited in love.

Westley's love is the very definition of 1 Corinthians 13:5, which says that "love is not self-seeking" (NIV). I'm touched by Westley's sacrificial love because it reminds me of my desire for someone who's willing to give up everything to be with me. And that longing points to something beyond romance because that's exactly what God did.

God made the huge sacrifice of becoming a man and then dying so we could live forever with him. In John 15:13, Jesus says, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (NIV). This act is the ultimate expression of love—even more loving than wrestling Andre the Giant.

Genuine Intimacy
In the movie Hitch, Albert is a goofy, sloppy guy who fears that no one could ever love him for who he truly is. So, in order to win the heart of a woman named Allegra, he decides to hide his true self. Albert hires Hitch, a professional date doctor, to help him put on a better front to attract her. When this woman does notice Albert, she sees past that mask.

Allegra falls in love with all the things Hitch strongly cautioned Albert not to do. Allegra loves that he danced like a nerd, squirted mustard on his shirt, taught her how to whistle, and threw his inhaler on the ground before kissing her. These gestures touched her heart, calmed her nerves, and made her feel less self-conscious. She gets to know the person beyond the bad dance moves. She falls for the real Albert.

Like Albert, we want to be known and loved, but we fear that who we are isn't good enough. We're looking for acceptance for who we are, but we're also looking for real intimacy, which means to be completely known in the deepest, innermost and essential way. And kind of like Allegra, God loves the real me—not the fake me. He knows me and wants me for who I am and not for the person who often hides and tries to be someone else. God wants me to be vulnerable and open.

Being known by God is different than a relationship with the opposite sex. My boyfriend and I know each other well, but he will never fully know my heart. God does. In fact, Psalm 139:13 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb" (NIV). God knows us better than we know ourselves and cares about the small issues in our lives just as much as the big. The Bible tells us, "What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head!" (Matthew 10:30, The Message).


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