the PURSUIT of HAPPYNESS
(PG-13; Columbia Pictures & Sony Pictures)
Jason Ramsey reviews the (mis-spelt) film starring Will Smith
It seemed one of those safe-bet films with Will Smith, whom I always find rather amusing. But I can tell you now that the film bored my socks off. It was not the slightest bit entertaining. So I looked for some type of children’s talk that I could get out of the film and then my time would have been slightly profitable at least.
The idea of the film is in essence a simple one. A man who tries to do what’s best and make money, makes instead some poor decisions! Due to a whole load of bad luck he ends up down, out and homeless. He just can’t get any breaks and so he sets off with the dream of being a stockbroker.
The worldview of the film is secular, postmodern humanism – happiness is all about making money. The film also buys into the ‘American dream’ idea that any man can make it if he works hard enough and has the right attitude.
This film mirrors many a true story in life. And watching it I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor guy and ever so slightly frustrated. But then at the end I left the film rather sad. Now that was nothing to do with the ending (I won’t spoil it for you) – it was because this man is like a person who had been dealt with really carefully by the Lord (without ever realising it!)
He had brought him low and given him chance to find what is important in life. Things like family, relationships and God! But this man’s marriage broke up and he spent basically no time with his son. Why? Because he misses the one worldview that works, that is, following God’s laws and doing it God’s way.
Frank Sinatra made famous the cult song ‘I did it my way’ and there are many people who have died clutching that cry. They did it their way. When I go to my grave (if the Lord has not returned before) I want to go clutching this truth, ‘I did it God’s way!’
So what is the way? Jesus tells us in John 14:6 – ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’. Jesus Christ is the way to God the Father, and only faith in him leads to salvation and eternal life.
God’s gifts of repentance and faith are two complementary things that matter so much. If you know you’re a sinner and come to God broken, asking him for forgiveness, you will receive it! He won’t turn you away.
I have met many truly happy people – all of them (as far as I can recall) were Christians. Why was this? Was everything going perfectly for them? Far from it! Some of them were facing really difficult situations. But they considered it pure joy because they trusted themselves to a heavenly Father’s care.
Job was a man who lost everything. Family, friends, health and the respect of his wife. But he was still able to trust God. I would challenge you to read his story and not be moved by this man’s faith.
Are you pursuing happiness? If so, I think you’re searching for the wrong thing! What you need is salvation and peace with a holy God through Jesus Christ – who loved us and gave himself for us. Know him and you will be ‘happy’ in the deepest sense possible.