Stuck in the Middle with You
There’s a lot of Oscar buzz around Fences, a movie based on the play by August Wilson. It centers on a middle-aged man named Troy and his family. I found certain components of his story worth examining. In the trailer, Denzel Washington (as Troy) tells his son to not worry about people liking him but instead be concerned about people doing right by him. This gives a glimpse into to mind of Troy.
He was an excellent baseball player at a time when African-Americans were under restrictions in the major leagues. So despite his talent he was not able to make decent money and ended up as a garbage man barely keeping his family above water. This instilled in Troy mistrust and he grew bitter with age. So much so that when his son had the opportunity to go to college on a football scholarship, Troy was unable to support the opportunity as he was bitter and felt his son would be mistreated as he was.
The powerful line for me is when Troy yells at his wife (played by the incomparable Viola Davis) that it is not easy for him to admit he’s been standing in the same place for 18 years to which she shouts back that she has been standing there with him the whole time.
Bitterness and unforgiveness leaves you stuck and unable to move forward. And it reaches out and touches those around you, the people you love. And either they have to leave you or they end up stuck with you. Either way, it can be painful.
We mustn’t allow bitterness to take root in our lives. The Bible tells us, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32).
If you feel stuck in your life and can list a litany of disappointments, please step back for a moment and consider that you may be bitter or unforgiving over something that has happened in your life. No one wants to diminish your experience but you don’t have to live with the pain or live in fear of being hurt or disappointed again. Give it all to God so you can move forward in your life. Paul tells us to forget the past and reach forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13).
Don’t get stuck like Troy, God has so much more for you just take the first step and forgive. Be blessed!
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