There it was in the mail. A preview copy of “The Song,” the movie touted as a retelling of “The Song of Solomon.” In all honesty, at the time it was yet one more thing that needed to be checked off my to-do list, so I tossed it in the ever-growing pile. Sure it would potentially help Shattered gain some desperately needed exposure and traction, but it was another thing to do. And really, we are still finding our footing for our style of reviewing products while remaining true to what we are all about – our stories for God’s glory.
So I put it off. There were so many other things that I had to take care of: articles for our winter issue, pressing business meetings, other connections to foster, day-to-day mundane tasks, household chores and cooking, running errands, my other job that actually pays, my kids, my husband…
That’s when “The Song“ hit home. After unintentionally having my husband at the bottom of my list, and, quite frankly, feeling like I was at the bottom of his, our world began to crash around us. We felt the devil trying to sneak in under the cover of “busy and distracted,” attempting to tear apart our hearts, marriage, and home. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that we slipped into what most would consider “actual marriage problems,” but we slipped past the line of feeling like we were in sync and going forward together on the same path.
And suddenly, I was more than grateful for the chance to talk with Kyle Idleman, lead pastor of Southeast Christian Church and founder of City On A Hill Productions. He’s behind the creation of this movie which is desperately needed by so many. In talking with Kyle, I found the angle—the story for God’s glory.
“The Song“ is inspired by “The Song of Solomon” but is a modern retelling of the scripture’s major themes of relationship challenges, loneliness, and love in ways that relate to our culture. The Song is the story of one man learning to die to himself and to steward well the blessings God has given him.
I was refreshed talking with Kyle knowing that my husband and I are not alone—the attacks on our relationship from all directions and demands of this world are common problems. We all so desperately need to cling to God for rescue from them. Kyle talked about how he has been disappointed in himself when he gets caught up in the day-to-day and forgets to intentionally seek God in every aspect of his relationships. He spoke of the importance of implementing practical safe guards to protect what we treasure most. As a pastor, he gets to hear people’s stories and help them focus on what really matters in the midst of hard times. God works through their stories to remind him that the world presents many dangers to navigate around, and that it is important to guard our hearts and our relationships from the enemy’s sniper rounds.
In asking Kyle how he would counsel us in our marriages, he offered the following advice:
1) Recognize this world and its distractions are dangerous grounds. Guard your heart and stay focused. Allow God to work in your weaknesses and failures to refocus you and display His glory. (My input is that it’s not our super strong, never failing marriage that will encourage others, but rather, our struggles and weaknesses where God alone holds us together that ultimately display His glory and strength for ANY marriage. Being able to share our weaknesses and failures in marriage and describe how God showed up is where we get to play a part in His plan. Our stories for His glory!)
2) Talk with people going through hard things. Re-focus on what matters and keep perspective. Do that together with the heart for seeing God’s glory in their stories as well.
3) Relationships require a process of humbling where we give our weaknesses to Him so He can demonstrate His strengths. Admit where there are issues or failures and allow Him to be strong in our weaknesses.
4) Practically guard our relationships. Have a strong accountability partner—men for men and women for women. Agree on times to commit to each other only—no kids or outside distractions.
5) Recognize the potential for vulnerability. Choose to be vulnerable with each other.
I wish I could say that watching The Song (or any movie or any book or any ONE thing) will fix your marriage, but I can’t. The truth is relationships are a lot of work. Love requires the actions of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: patience, kindness, selflessness, humility, honor, slow to anger, forgiveness with no grudges, protection, trust, hope and perseverance. And most of the time it is a choice, a decision to love rather than an emotion we feel. The choice is also the responsibility of both partners in a relationship to make – no one person can be responsible for the success of any relationship. Both people need to love each other through the power of Christ alone. By placing our love in His hands and allowing Him to love us unconditionally, we can actually know love and begin to love others well. And that is the part that we must focus on.
Above all else, relationships are a journey and that journey needs to start with God. The Song serves as a beautiful reminder of our need to abide in His love first, pursuing Him above all else. Anything else that we pursue in this life above Him, including our relationships, is like chasing the wind – pointless and fruitless. And when we pursue Him first, then the joy of true love in our relationships will be made available to us.
Go see The Song. Take your spouse. Take your friends. Take your children. Open up conversations. Pray for God to begin working in hearts. Let’s refocus in all of our relationships and begin the journey to true love.