While the children are gone, I'm reviewing Man Without a Face. Nearly twenty years ago, it was one of my favorite movies. I haven't watched it in years. The specifics of the plot have escaped my memory, but one particular scene has stuck in my mind. In fact, that one scene is why I want the children to watch it. Because I believe if they understand and take that one scene to heart, it can be a road to freedom for the entirity of their lives.
The scene is near the end of the movie. McLeod has been accused of abusing the boy, and the boy has doubts...and questions.
How could someone for whom he cared so much, whom he trusted so deeply, be capable of inflicting such pain? Surely he couldn't...but maybe he could...If only he would say he didn't, but he won't.
Instead, he says, "Look at the evidence. Look at what you've seen of me. What you've seen me do. How you've seen me act. What have I ever done to make you think I am capable of that?"
It's a powerful scene.
The boy yelling, "If you'll just tell me..."
The friend yelling back, "I did tell you...everyday. There's no cheating on this test. You have to decide the answer. All the information, all the knowledge has been given you. YOU have to answer."
Today, I find myself the boy...and the friend.
Earlier this week I was questioned. My character was questioned. My heart was questioned.
The very core of me was questioned..and I thought the person knew.
And I keep thinking surely deep down the person knows...but in truth, what the person knows is that others have lied, that others have inflicted pain, that others were not who they said they were. Now, I'm suspect, too.
And while I understand the pain, I also want to say, "But I told you...everyday. I have given you the information. You have the knowledge. You have the answer. How did you come up with that one? Or is your answer about me at all? Because it doesn't feel like it is. I don't feel like I deserve that answer, and I feel like you have judged me, not on my merit, but on someone else's sins. How can I ever overcome that, especially if that is all you choose to see?"
And I am questioning.
I am questioning my ability to know someone based on personal merit and not on other people's sins. I am questioning my ability to see past my pain, past my anger, past my broken trust, beyond my bias to another's heart.
I am praying.
I am praying for courage to see the truth, to trust even when it is terrifying, even when it puts my heart at risk.
I am praying not to poison my present with the pain of the past.
And when someone stands before me and says, "But I told you everyday...You have the knowledge and the information...You have the answer..."
I pray I have courage to have the right one.