By Anthony D’Amore
Some Christians have been slamming actor Nicolas Cage over his movie “Left Behind,” a remake of the movie based on the successful book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Some of the criticism has been severely harsh, as if some Christians have forgotten that God shows them grace. When did it become okay for Christians to spew hatred and forget about humility and love for others?
These self-proclaimed Christian critics who have been slamming Nicolas Cage and his movie on social media channels have seemingly lost sight of God’s purpose. It’s as if posting a judgmental rant on a web site is more important than a Hollywood actor experiencing the grace of God.
It doesn’t mean every Christian needs to agree with everything about Cage’s movie or what Cage stands for, but as ambassadors of Christ, it is embarrassing and counterproductive for the Kingdom of heaven when Christians behave badly by inflicting searing criticism against someone like Nicolas Cage for whom Jesus Christ died on the cross.
Christians who get caught up in the theological-driven attacks have forgotten that there is a more loving manner with which to deliver an opinion – without attacking.
Wonder if God were to hold every Christian who said or posted online harsh criticism of Cage responsible for their harsh words, would so many Christians be so free and loose with their excessive criticism?
No wonder so many in Hollywood are wary of “Christians.”
Love covers sin. Love covers mistakes. Love is gracious. However, Christians have not shown love toward this Hollywood Academy-award winner.
Christians expect other people to be gracious toward them, but when they feel “justified,” the same Christians are too quick to be impatient and brutal with other people, especially Hollywood people. This is not fruit of the Holy Spirit. Love cannot be left behind when delivering a message that should be pointing a person, even a high-profile person like Cage, toward God’s grace.
Criticism that is given without a spirit of love toward the other person is rooted in religiosity. Jesus Christ Himself blasted religiosity. Nicolas Cage and Jesus Christ have at least this in common.
In the following “open letter” to Nicolas Cage, I apologize on behalf of the Christian community that attacked him, ridiculed him, spoke negativity into his life and trashed his movie.
By the way, whether the movie is biblically accurate or not is not the point. The point is whether Christians are biblically accurate as ambassadors of Christ in the way they communicate to the unbelieving world with grace, faith and love. Otherwise, the harsh Christian critics out there should rip up their “Christian ID cards” and go be angry.
As Christians, we can educate Cage and the movie’s producers on why their movie is inconsistent with the Bible. We can use it as an opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to show them something about God’s nature and purposes. It’s an opportunity for Cage to discover the truth of God’s grand plan. Unfortunately, spiteful attitudes from Christians throw up a barrier that blocks the art of listening.
The Holy Spirit accepts Nicolas Cage as he is; He simply loves him too much to leave him that way. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, love is not left behind.
Dear Mr. Cage,
On behalf of Christians around the country, I would like to apologize to you. Those few critics who call themselves “Christian” do not represent the vast majority of true Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit, love God and have love for others.
It was not right that some Christians attacked you for your movie “Left Behind.” Unfortunately, there are many Christians who have never learned how to communicate in the love of the Holy Spirit.
They think they are at war with Hollywood. They are misinformed and, as evidenced by their harsh, mean and visceral criticism, they let pride get in their way. As the Bible says, pride comes before a fall.
The truth is that Jesus Christ is not at war with Hollywood. If Jesus were walking the earth today like He did two thousand years ago, He’d be hanging out with the prostitutes, money-grubbers and Hollywood stars in tinseltown.
He’d turn your world upside down. . . in a good way. You wouldn’t question His love for you, the way you surely question the “love” of religious Christians. The Lord would show you how to embrace a higher level of thinking and believing. God does not want you to stay stuck in the morass of low-level thinking.
I repent on behalf of the Christian critics, Mr. Cage. I ask for your forgiveness. By that, I mean that I ask you to release Christians from the debt they owe you to treat you with respect, fairness, kindness and love.
Please do not equate faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, with these small-minded Christians who focus too much on the letter than on the spirit that is the essence of our Father in heaven. You may have an issue with religiosity, like Jesus does, but God is more for you than against you, Mr. Cage.
As Christians, we are committed to the Truth of the Word of God. We want you to know the Truth in its purity, but we also should be living the Truth by the way we act and communicate. We may have some disagreements with you about what aligns with the Bible, but it doesn’t mean we cannot have a conversation. Issues of the heart are deep issues.
I am sorry if you were hurt by their unkindness, which only reinforced the negative image. But, there are many kind, gracious, honest and discerning Christians in Hollywood. I ask you not to shut the door on them.
Like any family, the Christian family around the world has a few ‘crazy uncles’ and ‘whacko cousins,’ but for the most part, people who are born-again Christians are the real thing. When you are with them, you feel like you are with Jesus. You experience the presence of God. It’s a beautiful thing, Mr. Cage.
I’d like to end this letter with a short prayer for you. “Heavenly Father, in Jesus name, I ask You to make Yourself real to Nicolas Cage in a very gracious, personal and accepting way that benefits him, not hurts him. Lord Jesus, I pray that Mr. Cage comes to a faith-knowledge of You. Holy Spirit, You are already hanging out with Mr. Cage, even though he may not recognize it yet. Increase Your presence in his life. Bless Nicolas Cage. In Jesus name. Amen.”
Thank you for reading this letter, Mr. Cage. If you decide to take up Jesus Christ on His offer of admittance into His kingdom, I hope you don’t mind if I walk up to you in heaven someday and call you “Nick.” Ever since watching Moonstruck decades ago, you’ve been Nick to me and my Italian family. I hope I will be able to break bread with you at the table in heaven. I will save a seat for you at the table. We’ll play bocci with the angels.
A brother in Christ,
I realize some Christians will not agree with my perspective or my kindness toward Mr. Cage.
Next time, they may want to go to the Lord Jesus first and let Him touch the heart of a Hollywood star. Criticism only shuts down a Hollywood star’s ears to hear. God is up to something bigger. It’s called LOVE. More Christians should try it sometime. Then, we might be able to do what the Christians in the first century were able to do – change the world.
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