I watched the anticipating movie “Unbroken” the other day (CHRISTmas) with my parents (my grandfather was captured as a POW as a “Filipino” civilian and survived as a cook) and still absorbing the personal messages from this inspirational movie in this season in my life. I was first introduced to this real-life story (Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken”) by Neil, pastor of Harvest Community Church (Fargo, ND) and host to a weekly morning Bible study-fellowship group I attend in Morris, who gave me to read and share with one of my friends (college student from Japan renter) years ago. Unfortunately, my renter wasn’t interested in reading this book, but was inspired by the story. I got more interested in this story when Neil shared about this book was going to be movie on facebook. I’ve been looking forward to this movie since this Spring and now anxious to share about it with others.
Zamperini’s life story has taught me many life virtues (e.g. perseverance, gratefulness, commitment, and forgiveness) in this point of my life, which I’ll try to share as many of them down below. One of them is perseverance, which the stories he shared of what he endured during WWII is very inspirational. I’ve read many stories from that war, which has helped me to not complain and be more grateful no matter what challenges I’m facing in my life. The sacrifices many soldiers faced (including my own parents’ country-Philippines-> Filipino Military–
Bataan Uncensored Paperback – December, 1991
, a must read book!) during that war helped my generation to reap the blessings we have right now. It’s important to never forgot our own history (U.S., Philippines, and any other nation), so we won’t take for granted what we are blessed with.
“If you get me through this I swear I’ll dedicate my whole life to you. Please”-Louis Zamperini (from briandoddonleadership.com)
I made a similar promise to God (Heavenly Father) before giving my life to Him back in the winter of 1996. I went skiing at a ski resort (Andes Tower Hills in Kensington, Minnesota). I went down hill skiing with a bunch of college friends (international students) and wanted to show off, so I just jumped on this chair life not knowing how far and big the hill I would be down hill skiing at. Well, when I got to the top, I realize this was higher than I thought and already forgot how to ski. I haven’t gone down hill skiing for years (should’ve gone on the smaller hill or bunny hill to get some practice). Well, this would be called, “Pride before the fall”. There was no way down but to go with my skis, so I had to fall 4x or so to finally decided to walk (after feeling my knee really swollen or hurt). I went to the ER at the local hospital (Morris, MN) and was at the X-Ray room. The doctor took an X-Ray and left the room by myself. This was when I had my “first” BIG encounter with God. I was more concerned about the financial cost of the medical expense than what happened to me physically. I then just called out to God and told Him-“God, if your real. Heal me and I”ll follow You”. Well, the doctor came back and told me that I didn’t break anything, which would be the beginning of my journey of faith (see testimony) Ever made a promise (e.g. Matthew 5:37-“Let your yes, be “YES”) with God, family, friends, etc…? I challenge and encourage you to “follow-through”!
I read and heard many stories of the atrocities in World War II and many wars before and after. Even though this movie just showed one perspective of one American’s experience. The torture that he and many others out there is very “inhumane”. Unfortunately, we as a county didn’t learn from this and still use this to this day (e.g. Shocking cases in CIA report reveal an American torture program in disarray – Spencer Ackerman in New York Tuesday 9 December 2014 ) This is an embarrassment as a nation to this world as we “preached” against inhumanitarian acts of other nations (e.g. North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, etc..).
In my response to what our nation has done and even myself (I too have “wrong” people in different ways and levels due to sin)…”forgive them for they do not know what they do”. Zamperini’s story can be applied with what’s going on today (e.g. Ferguson-we need to forgive each other for the wrong that’s been done to one another). There are “good” and “bad” cops-same with any group of people. We can’t “judge” or “stereotype” (e.g. NOT all Somolians are “evil” as the movie “Black Hawk Down” might stereotype these people group) any group because of the actions of a “few” of a group of people (e.g. race, nationality, political party, religion, institution, etc..) The real “enemy” is satan and his cronies (demons) that try to deceive and divide the human race to “fight” one another. It’s God’s love that is shared in the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ behind the message of Zamerini’s forgiveness!
Is there someone out there that has hurt (e.g. abuse) you in the past? Just as Zamperini had one-the “Bird”-was a “bully” or “tormentor” while he was Prisoner of War. When Zamperini went home after the war, he was like many veterans that would suffer from PTSD. He would have nightmares, which I too had them at times growing-up for different reasons. Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Well, Zamperini started to sleep better after his “encounter” with God at a Billy Graham Crusade and forgave his “enemy” (abuser, bully, etc..). Have you forgave that individual(s) that hurt you in the past? It’s not easy, right? You can’t do it on your own because you need that strength from God alone, which I personally (e.g. my own bully story) got when I gave my life to Him.
If you have read this book or watched the movie, curious-what was your famous line/quote/scene in the movie? why? what did you learn? How are you applying it in your life to this day?
“Movie theater in Oakdale, Minnesota where I saw the movie “Unbroken” with parents on CHRISTmas Day“