Walking towards the Light from the cross of a King

A blog by Josh Humbert

What Romantic Comedies Get Right (No, Seriously!)



And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Con

It is safe to say that I am not overly fond of the film genre known as the “Romantic Comedy.”  None of those movies are showing up on my Christmas list, ok?  However I will not use this space to detail the reasons for my stance on these movies.

…….ok…..well….hold on….

Let me just say this and I’ll move on:  The great irony of the “rom com” is that *research shows that 99.9% of the time these movies contain NO romance and the lowest forms and excuses for “comedy.”

(* aforementioned research = my opinion.)

In reality, the joke is ON the movies themselves.  That’s what you call romance?  That’s what you call comedy?  Please allow me to quote one of the last films to understand romance and comedy,  “Romantic  comedy?….(see image below)….

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The Pro

Ok…I feel better now.  Let’s get to business.

There IS a positive to the genre, though.  Yes, you must wade through quite a mess in most romantic comedies, but there is a good thing we can find at the end of the tunnel. #AndyDufresne

What typically happens in most rom-com’s is that the couple doesn’t realize they are supposed to be together for the great majority of the movie.  It isn’t till the last act when our hero/heroine will have a moment of great realization!  “Hey, I actually LOVE her/him!”  A song from the Goo Goo Dolls (or somesuch) queues up on the soundtrack and there is usually a furious pursuit to get to the other person.

If you are fan of these movies, you will no doubt recognize this as what *research calls the “airport/wedding” moment.  Our hero/heroine breaks many traffic/security laws to get to the airport/wedding “before it’s too late” and to finally declare their love for the other person.  And this moment almost always takes place in an airport or at a wedding.  There is a certain desperation (typically) our hero/heroine has to embrace to reach the airport/wedding in time.  They’ll do whatever it takes, no matter what anyone else thinks or says.

It is this airport/wedding moment that gives rise to what *research calls the “Never-Realized-Speech.”  This is when the hero/heroine lays out how they just never realized how “perfect” they would be together.  Or how they never realized the other person had feelings for them.  Or…in some instances…how the other person NEEDS to realize their feelings for the hero/heroine.  In any case, a realization has led to this proclamation. And the proclamation then leads to culmination: the two FINALLY are in love!  Credits roll.  Movie over.

Perhaps the film Jerry Maguire has one of the more memorable collection of all these cliches of the genre.  Ol’ Jerry finally realizes he loves Dorothy and makes a mad dash to her house at the end of the movie (HE RUNS THROUGH THE AIRPORT!).  Upon arriving, he gives the classic “Never-Realized-Speech” complete with the infamous words, “you complete me.”  Dorothy shushes him with the equally infamous reply, “shut-up.  You had me at hello.”  FINALLY in love.  Credits roll.  Movie over.  It’s all right there.

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And that’s a great, great thing.  Sort of.

A Question Of Honor

In Mark 10, Jesus is moving quickly towards the Cross.  He knows it is approaching fast as He keeps predicting it and telling the disciples about it.

But there is this curious encounter Jesus has with James on John as they are on the road to Jerusalem.  These two brothers, James and John, are like many of the disciples in that they struggle with pride.  They want to be honored and famous when Jesus takes over as King.  Mark 10:35-37 lays it out this way:

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”  And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right hand and one on Your left, in Your glory.”

Stop for just a moment and consider the STUNNING question Jesus gave them: “What do you want Me to do for you?”  Has there EVER been a better offer than that?  EVER?

This question is the most power-packed question there is.  And how do our guys respond?  They want HONOR that really isn’t theirs.  They want to make sure they get the best seats in the house when Jesus sets up shop.  They want the VIP treatment.  Pride.  Arrogance.  Notoriety.  Fame.  James and John know Jesus is King and they want in on the honor.

A Question Of Irony

Now get this…just a short time later the whole scenario gets a beautiful plot twist.  You don’t even have to leave Mark 10; just keep reading a few more verses and you come to the story of Bartimaeus.

Jesus and His disciples are on the move still and while they continue on the road, a “blind beggar” named Bartimaeus is sitting on the side of the road.  Mark 10:47-51 lays it out like this:

When he (Bartimaeus) heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.”  So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up!  He is calling for you.”  Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus.  And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”

Ahhh, the humor and irony of God.

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The same question Jesus gave to James and John He will now extend to a poor, blind, beggar on the side of the road.  “What do you want Me to do for you?”  Jesus doesn’t change a single word.  It is the same question.

Can you imagine how the ears of James and John must have perked up when they hear Jesus allow this blind beggar the same amazing opportunity He had just given them?  “He just offered this to us!

And how does Bartimaeus respond?  With an honest cry for help.  He is broken, hurt, outcast, and all alone.  He is hopeless and undignified.  The crowd has even tried to shut him up and get him quiet.  But he embraces the lack of dignity.  He embraces the humiliation in the crowd’s eyes.  Bartimaeus knows Jesus is King and he simply wants in on the mercy.

The Airport/Wedding Moment Of Bartimaeus

This is the seminal moment for Bartimaeus.  His realization (Jesus is the Son of David, the real King!) has led to his proclamation (Have mercy on me! I want to regain my sight!).  And ultimately it leads to an awesome culmination.  He is healed and saved!  He goes from only seeing darkness to opening his eyes to see Jesus in person!

This is…in a way…his redemption of the airport/wedding moment.  He takes the cliche of the rom-com and raises it up to a more true and magnificent place.

While rom-com’s get much wrong (hint—-ladies, if a guy tells you that “you complete” him…STAY AWAY!  RUN!  That freddy needs to have his identity rooted in Christ. That type of pressure will crush you or him. You don’t complete anyone.  God does.), this airport/wedding moment points us to something strong and real in God’s eyes.  This is what rom-com’s get right…sort of.  Rom-com’s focus this huge moment on mere humans (their love interest) and feelings, but the underlying sentiment is one we would do well to learn.

Let’s say it like this—there is true dignity when we embrace the undignified approach.  Admitting weakness, conceding hurts and scars, confessing real sin, doing what may seem dishonorable or shameful in the eyes of the religious crowd…the irony is that THIS is what Jesus sees as honorable.  This is what gets His attention.  This is what Jesus came for.

In approaching God, we will not run through airports, but we can race to the foot of a blood-stained cross and see the One who suffered the ultimate dishonor, on our behalf.  We may not radically interrupt a wedding to declare our love, but we most certainly can be the one to admit our real needs in the middle of a crowd that pretends they have none.

The Question Is Here

What do You want me to do for you?  This is on your plate.  Right now.  What do you want from Christ?

Is it just things that sparkle and shine?  Is it just honor and respectability for yourself?  Do you just want the things He can give you?  Does the crowd of “healthy” people intimidate you?  Can the religious people quiet your desperate need for Jesus?

No.  May it never be!  Embrace the undignified approach.  Get louder.  More emphatic.  Do not go quietly.

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!  I’m in the dark here; I need to see YOU!  I am a poor, pitiful, blind beggar without You.  I have no hope besides You.  I don’t have it all together.  I am not “fine.”  I am not ok.  You are my only way out.  I need You.  I am sick and I need the Physician.  I am a sinner and I need the Savior.

There is dignity in the undignified.  What many will see as dishonorable is what stops Jesus in His tracks.  While Jesus wants you to have a whole heart, the good news is this: He accepts your broken one.
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not turn away.”

No person or spouse can ever complete you.  They can’t heal you.  They can’t show you the mercy you desperately need.  They can’t take your sin away.  They can’t take your broken heart and make it new.

But…this is, in fact, the exact thing Jesus loves to do.

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And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Honor In The Details

Want to know more of God’s irony and humor?  Get this.  Bartimaeus means “son of Timothyaeus.” Now, the Scripture may seem a bit redundant to say “Bartimaeus, the Son of Timothyaeus,” right?  However, when you look up the meaning of that name Timothyaeus, the humor and irony of God hit once more.  That word means “honor.”

Bartimaeus, the poor, pitiful, blind beggar is literally “the son of honor.”  How bout them apples?

All the selfish pride of James and John was not honorable.  All their futile grasps for fame and authority were so misguided.  They keep using the word honor—I do not think it means what they think it means.  #TeamMontoya

What was really and truly honorable was the hopeless man on the side of the road who refused to be quiet about his need for Jesus.  The one who was truly broken was not refused…he was counted as a son of honor.  He was healed.  He was saved.

What do you want Me to do for you?  It’s no accident you ended up here and reading this question today.  He has put the same question before your eyes right now for a purpose.  What will you say?

Thanks so much for reading.  Your comments and insights are always welcomed.  If you like this, share it, pin it, tweet it, and pass it on.

2 comments on “What Romantic Comedies Get Right (No, Seriously!)

  1. Pingback: Wrestling With Revenge, Redemption, and Robots | Walking towards the Light from the cross of a King

  2. Pingback: Make That Beauty Call | Walking towards the Light from the cross of a King

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