Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fireproof, Part 5, Making Sin Funny

Another theme throughout the Fireproof movie that troubles me is when Caleb takes his anger out on the garbage can. This is minimized by making it funny because the neighbor catches him in the act. The truth is Caleb’s physical violence on the garbage can is a warning sign that he is dangerous and could turn that violence on his wife. In fact, when he screams in her face, he IS using violence against her.

Further, if lusting after a woman is committing adultery in one’s heart, then beating a garbage can, with which you are not angry, instead of beating your wife with whom you are angry, is the same as beating your wife in your heart. Caleb’s dad does make this point, but it was not put together with slugging the garbage can. I John 3:15 says “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Caleb’s screaming in his wife’s face until he induced her to fear and provoked her to tears also show hatred in his heart, which John says is murder.

It is no wonder emotional/verbal abuse so frequently escalates into physical violence, and far too often ends in murder. It is because murder was in the heart in that initial verbal assault. Indeed, beating the garbage can with a baseball bat, kicking the dog, putting a fist through the wall, and etc. all suggest the person has murder in his heart.

Neither the act, nor the embarrassment for being caught in the act is a laughing matter. It’s not just weird. It’s not comedy. It’s a warning sign that a dangerous and violent man lives next door. In fact, if a neighbor who witnesses that behavior would guess that the man is abusing his wife, 95% of the time he would be correct.

If he is a mature man, as John Piper defines masculine maturity in “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood," he would also take steps to protect his neighbor’s wife by calling the police. Her very life may depend on her neighbor’s report. The neighbor would also use the experience as a reminder to research domestic violence and use that knowledge to help him (and perhaps his family) develop a relationship with his neighbor(s) that will permit him to influence his neighbor to develop respectful and caring attitudes toward women. That action would have the likely side effect of strengthening the neighbor’s wife’s inner sense that her husband is indeed out of line, that he has broken the marriage covenant, and that she needs to be firm in requiring respect and cherishing from her husband.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

No comments:

Post a Comment