Northstar Presents At The Movies –  Unbroken

Introduction:

Life as we know it comes with no guarantees. Sometimes it’s as though the harder we try the worse things seem to get. We must choose to give up and quit or to press forward into a greater purpose. The 2014 film ‘Unbroken’ tells part of the amazing true story of Louie Zamperini. It’s a story of survival, resilience and redemption that intersects powerfully with God’s story of grace in Jesus. In this movie, Louie moves from victim to victor in the power of forgiveness.  Hopefully, you will be energized as you see the challenge and triumph of one man’s journey and move forward into stronger places of purpose and freedom.

Something To Talk About:

In Week 2 of At The Movies series, we turn our attention to an incredible movie, Unbroken. It’s the true story of Louie Zamperini, who changed his life from juvenile delinquent to track and field Olympian. The movie primarily depicts Louie’s experience in WWII. He was a bombardier for the Air Corps, and his plane went down over the Pacific while he and his crew were on a rescue mission. The movie follows Louie for the 47 days he was adrift at sea and it tells the story of mental, emotional, and spiritual resiliency that helped him survive two years in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp.

The movie is aptly titled Unbroken. It demonstrates that you can take a man’s health, you can put him in unimaginable horrific conditions, you can beat him and starve him, but you cannot break his will. But it will have an effect over time. Louie’s rage to get revenge generated anger and stress, and it was sending his life in a negative spiral. He attended a sermon with Billy Graham and found that through dedicating his life to Christ he was able to make his mission forgiveness and not revenge.

Louis had a foundation in perseverance. He was greatly impacted by words his pastor spoke: “ Live through the night. Love thine enemy.” He was also highly influenced by his brother, who told him, “If you can take it, you can make it,” and, “A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.” These words of endurance served Louis well as a prisoner of war, and he made a decision to stand strong under extremely difficult conditions and treatment. At the prison camp, Louis and his comrades were tortured under the leadership of a man known as “The Bird,” facing countless beatings, freezing temperatures in little-to-no clothing, starvation, and forced labor.

Louis’ story encourages those of us who are going through a trial. There is always purpose within our pain, and if we endure, we will see God’s power make us strong in our weakness. When the weight of the world is on our shoulders, we have to remember that, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

Don’t forget: if you can take it, you can make it. You have the power of God dwelling inside you. Nothing is impossible if we trust Him through the process. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 sums it up this way: “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Questions:

  1. You may know nothing about Louis Zamperini, but based on Sunday’s message, what words would you use to describe him?
  2. Think about a time in your life when you struggled with something you didn’t think you could overcome. How were you able to get through it? Did you see God’s power at work through your situation?
  3. Discuss how you have experienced the faithfulness of God. When thinking of the many attributes of God’s character, share which ones you find most encouraging when going through something difficult.
  4. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-9. Share something you may be currently facing that is weighing heavy on you. If so, did this week’s message encourage you? How can the group specifically pray for you during this season?
  5. Do you believe it’s true – is a moment of pain really worth a lifetime of glory? Why or why not? Do you know anyone who has endured a “moment of pain” for a “lifetime of glory”?
  6. Is there someone in our life that we need to forgive?
  7. Pray and ask God to help you have proper perspective in your trials. Pray that He would be glorified through your struggle, and ask Him for strength to persevere. Thank Him for His faithfulness, even when you cannot see Him working.

Take One Thing Home with You:

There are several things that we can learn from the movie Unbroken. The first is forgiveness. Forgiveness did not come naturally to Louie. But when he accepted Jesus as his Savior, it wiped his slate clean, healed his brokenness, and brought hope and peace for the first time in a long time. Louie had been forgiven and it set him free to forgive others.

Unbroken also gives us an example of why we need to get rid of our bitterness, rage and anger. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Unbroken reminds us in vivid terms that no one is perfect. “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) Still another message that it can be harmful to seek revenge, to get even for wrongs committed against us. “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)