How FORREST GUMP Demonstrates the Power of Biblical Kindness
By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor
“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”
FORREST GUMP captivated audiences upon its release in 1994 with Tom Hanks’ sweet performance of a simple Southern man, named Forrest Gump, who encounters significant trials.
Gump is an innocent in an America that slowly loses its innocence after World War II. Through the eyes of our hero, we experience the fast-paced mayhem and madness of three rolling decades and witness Gump’s accidental turn as star football player, war hero, athlete, millionaire, and lover.
Perhaps one of the best qualities in the widely popular movie is Gump’s nearly inconceivable ability to demonstrate kindness to all people, especially those who don’t seem to deserve it.
Gump’s low I.Q. deters many people from accepting Gump’s sweet offer of friendship. Still, Gump manages to forge lasting relationships with characters who need some kindness in their lives.
Gump demonstrates three kinds of kindness as a Fruit of the Spirit, and shows God’s heart for loving those around us:
Kindness in Friendship
Recall Gump’s unlikely friendship with Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise). Gump meets Lt. Dan after Gump enlists in the army.
Lt. Dan is your classic warrior with battle and honor on his mind at all times. When a physical injury takes Lt. Dan’s legs, Gump comes alongside of Lt. Dan in his grief over what could’ve been if he still had the privilege of walking.
Though Lt. Dan lashes out against Gump, Gump continues to serve the lieutenant faithfully.
Their friendship reminds us of the scripture found in Proverbs.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)
Kindness in Romantic Relationships
Gump also shows tenderness and kindness to Jenny, his childhood friend-turned-wife.
Jenny is one of the few characters who encourage and support Gump in his dreams. Though she calls out bullies who attack Gump, Jenny still has her own baggage.
Jenny grew up in an abusive home with ripple effects that create tension throughout the movie. Still, Gump loves her through her brokenness and respects her as a husband is called to do, despite her often negative attitude and actions.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” – Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
Kindness in Honoring Parents
Lastly, Gump’s mother (Sally Field), declines in health at the close of the movie. The experience forces Gump to embrace adulthood as he must prepare to care for his family in the same way his mother cared for him.
Gump’s loyalty and honor toward his mother shows that he was raised with the biblical principle of honoring parents.
“Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12 (CSB)
Discussion question: How can you draw from FORREST GUMP to show kindness to those around you?