Okay, maybe “love” is a strong word. I saw ‘Fireproof’ back in October and I’m hard pressed to think of a worse movie. The acting was atrocious, the story was thinly pieced together and it looked like it had been filmed with somebody’s camera phone. It was really an amateur affair. Kirk Cameron was the best actor in the film, if that tells you anything.
But there was something about it. I have walked out of better movies without a second thought but stayed through the end of this one even though I thought I was going to lose a kidney to 48 ounces of Coke Zero by the time the credits rolled. My companion cried and sniffled through the last 15 to 20 minutes of the film (not me. I was a rock.) and, an hour-and-a-half later, we were still deep in conversation about the movie and about life, love and relationships in general.
It’s probably because it spoke to the reality of our lives much better than any Hollywood romance and was very relevant to the two of us. The movie was free from any semblance of Hollywood glamour and the honesty was both refreshing and revealing.
Hollywood films may be more polished but they sell you a bill of goods that is false at it’s core. They tell you that falling in love with someone is easy and it happens the first time you lay eyes on someone. They tell you that true love is just “meant to be” and that one special relationship is always happily ever after.
In short, Hollywood is full of shit.
The strength of ‘Fireproof’ is that it completely overturns the Hollywood formula. There are no easy answers to life, love and the pursuit of happiness. There’s no love at first sight, no happily ever after and no ‘meant to be’.
‘Fireproof’ follows a marriage that is on its last legs due to disrespect, dishonor and selfishness. Unfortunately, it’s a story that’s all too real and, for me, one that hits close to home since my own marriage failed. The father of the husband challenges him to try ‘the love dare’ for 40 days instead of accepting that divorce is the only option that remains.
The ‘Love Dare’ used to turn the relationship around may be gimicky but it captures the concept of Christian love well. Love, according to ‘Fireproof’ (and the Bible) is not an emotion that makes you feel all gooey inside. It’s an action, one that must be repeated every day in order to remain in effect. It’s an act of patience, an act of kindness, an act of endurance, an act of forgiveness, an act of selflessness, an act of humility… It’s everything in 1st Corinthians 13 and none of the things Hollywood tells us it is.
In other words, it’s not easy. It’s hard. It may be the most difficult thing in the world to do well but maybe that is what makes it “the greatest of these”. Nothing that came easy ever had real value.
Anyway, if you get a chance, think about seeing the movie. I’m not saying you should see it. It is, after all, actively bad. Sitting through it is no easy thing, especially if you haven’t emptied your bladder in a goodly while.
But I’m happy I got to see it and I’m especially glad I got to share it with someone that made it very real and relevant to me, someone who has taught me how to love the way God intended, with patience, humility, grace, perseverance and endurance.
If you do watch it, watch it with someone you love. Maybe you’ll find you’re happy to have seen it too.
You could certainly find a worse way to spend Valentine’s Day, I’m sure.