“I want you to love me. I want you to trust me enough to let me love you, and I want you to stay here with me so we can build a life together. That’s what I want”
― Francine Rivers, Redeeming Love
I am from Texas in the middle of the Bible Belt. I went to a Christian-based private school for 12 years of my life and still attend church to this day. All that to say that I have heard of this book for years. Many of my friends have read it multiple times and recommend it to everyone, including me. I’ve seen church groups that form small book clubs around this book because they all found a strong message in it.
That being said, I was never drawn to this book. I, again, grew up in the world of faith-based books and movies so as an adult I have never been drawn to reading them. In fact, I like to read books that were banned because I like to see the other side of the coin. (Anyone else have the Harry Potter series banned from their book shelves?)
So when this book popped up as a future movie, I sighed a bit. I knew it was going to be inevitable that I read it because I love the idea of books being turned into movies and I love the idea of faith based movies getting more recognition but I didn’t necessarily want to be the one to dive into it because I’d spent most of my life reading them. Most of the time, faith based books come across as cheesy or corny to me but I decided that I was going to go into this book with an open mind.
I’m so glad I did.
This book is many things but at its root, it’s a message that God will search for us and always be willing to take us back, no matter how much we think we’ve failed Him. Michael is far from perfect, as all humans are, but the way that he constantly loves Angel and forgives her is in direct relation to how God loves us and forgives us no matter what as well.Angel has a horrible past with trauma that many of us can’t even fathom and with that comes choices and situations that she has found herself in. She truly believes that she is living the life that she was meant to live. Until Michael comes along to show her love, compassion, forgiveness, and many more things that she has never felt in her life.
Angel’s story is, on the surface, hard for a lot of people to relate to. Many people were not abused as she was nor made their living as a prostitute. But how we relate to her is through her struggles and trials in overcoming them.
She is taken in by Michael, almost by force, and he shows her nothing but love and kindness. He takes care of her needs and doesn’t demand anything from her. To quote the cliche, he attracts her with honey, not vinegar. But she has only ever been used and she pushes back- hard. She fights his kindness and is unwilling to open her heart to accept it. She’s hesitant and scared of what might happen if she opens her heart. Michael perseveres and, ultimately succeeds, in getting her to accept that she is worth more than what she can even fathom. She is precious and worthy of love.
Michael is showing God’s love to Angel in every step of this story. She fights him. She runs away. She yells at him. She works to push him away. But Michael is constant in his love for her. Every time she comes back, he is waiting there with open arms. When she pushes, he pushes back with kindness. When she fights, he turns the other cheek. Michael epitomizes God’s love because we have all done the same. We push against God. We fight Him. We run away. But when we come back, He is always there, waiting with open arms.
I don’t know what to expect with this movie, but I pray that it shows us what the book showed us: that we are all loved. We can always come back to Him. And He will be there. Always.
- Faith based
- Heart warming