By Si Fan
War Room is a Christian film directed by Alex Kendrick in 2015. By comparing domestic disputes to military wars, the director tells a story about how a family is saved by God from the verge of breaking.
Without dramatic plot or complicated structure, this film, just using everyday occurrence, strikes a deep emotional chord with audience.
The film begins with a fierce war, and then the scene shifts to a family dispute, which mirrors a society where each of us, like the characters in the film, is facing a variety of smokeless wars. Regardless of whether we are the winner or loser, have we really recognized the real enemy?
- The War Between Family Members
Elizabeth and Tony have been married for more than ten years. Fed up with the vices of each other, they are always full of grumbles when talking about each other. Elizabeth often complains about Tony to Mrs. Clara, while Tony chooses to vent his dissatisfaction in gym. Once when asked, “You just gonna let somebody die? What if it was your wife,” Tony replies with undisguised indifference. From the coldness in his eyes, we could get a glimpse of the poor relationship between the couple. Living in endless altercations, they are further and further estranged and finally become enemies. In this domestic dispute, there is no winner; what both sides gain is nothing but pain. Mrs. Clara said to Elizabeth, “I bet you never feel like you’ve won.” It’s true. Not only Elizabeth but all of us have never gained the victory. We, while fixing our eyes on others, all neglect the manipulator behind the scenes—Satan. In fact, such disputes will only make us fall into Satan’s trickery and bring us more pain and grievance.
- The War Between Man and God
Though this film doesn’t show the war between man and God in a direct way, behind every dispute between the couple, there is an invisible war erupting between man and God. To escape from family disputes, Elizabeth chooses to hide at work, with the result that she seldom attends meetings and becomes indifferent toward God. Meanwhile, Tony finds a lover outside, which violates the Ten Commandments promulgated by God. Gradually, their relationships with God become more and more distant. However, God doesn’t care about their mistakes or condemn them, but arranges people, events, and objects to help them escape the abuse and attacks of Satan, using His love to move and change them. Under the guidance of Mrs. Clara, Elizabeth gradually changes, which affects Tony and leads to his change. From the film, we can see that only God can help us out of plight and that escaping from the reality will only give Satan more chances to harm us and bring ourselves more pain and remorse.
- The War Between Man and Satan
Before Elizabeth meets Mrs. Clara, she and Tony mistakenly regarded each other as enemy. Mrs. Clara says: “See, you’re fighting the wrong enemy. Now, your husband certainly has his issues, but he’s not your enemy. …” “The one that wants to remain hidden. The one that wants to distract you and deceive you and divide you from the Lord and your husband! You see, that’s how he works. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. And he is stealing your joy. He is killing your faith and he’s trying to destroy your family. If I were you, I would get my heart right with God. And you need to do your fighting in! And you need to kick the real enemy out of your home with the word of God. …” After hearing these words, Elizabeth begins to awaken. Then she prays to God and declares war against Satan. Knowing that her enemy actually is Satan, she no longer bears grudge or complains against Tony, but begins to forgive him, respect him, and pray for him, which touches Tony and their daughter. Finally, they triumph over Satan and win back their family.
In our life, we are facing many battles, both big and small. Though not like the real wars which are cruel and bloody, these smokeless battles can do great harm to us. If we fail to recognize the real enemy, we could hurt innocent people, who may be our family or even ourselves. Here, I want to share a passage of words with you: “When people have yet to, their lives are often interfered with, and even controlled by, Satan. In other words, people who have not been saved are prisoners to Satan, they have no freedom, they have not been relinquished by Satan, they are not qualified or entitled to worship God, and they are closely pursued and viciously attacked by Satan. Such people have no happiness to speak of, they have no right to a normal existence to speak of, and moreover they have no dignity to speak of. Only if you stand up and do battle with Satan, using your faith in God and obedience to, and fear of God as the weapons with which to fight a life-and-death battle with Satan, such that you fully defeat Satan and cause it to turn tail and become cowardly whenever it sees you, so that it completely abandons its attacks and accusations against you—only then will you be saved and become free.” From these words, we can know that Satan does its utmost to make us stray from God. Only when we lift up the weapons given by God to fight against it, can we triumph over it and gain freedom. The experience of Elizabeth is an example.
Through this film, the director tries to send this message that when we are struggling in the dark, prayer can help us find a way out; as long as we pray to the Lord with sincerity, He will help us go through difficulties. As a verse repeated by Elizabeth in her prayer says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Prayer is the best weapon for us to fight against Satan. Have you been armed with it?