We all love a good movie based on a real story, even if it seems too good to be true. They often inspire us to look more into the story they were based on, which can be dangerous. All of a sudden, we find the heart-warming story we just learned about for the past 2 hours wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. After all, some stories need to be cleaned up a bit for the big screen. A little embellishment here or there can keep the heart of the story intact while making it a better watch.
If Rudy is your favorite movie, you might want to stop reading. I’m going to burst a bubble. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, Rudy tells the story of a college student who desperately wanted to play football for his beloved Notre Dame team, but he didn’t quite have the skills to do so, especially for a program like Notre Dame. Rudy makes it on as a walk on and puts all of his efforts into practice, but never comes close to sniffing the field. He’s running out of time to play because he’s a senior and the season is coming to a close. Making the team as a walk on was one thing, but his real dream was to get on the field.
There’s this iconic scene in the movie where one of the captains walks into the coach’s office to lay down his jersey. He wants Rudy to dress in his place. The coach doesn’t know what to think and tells the captain to snap out of it. Several more players flood into the office to do the same – lay their jersey down and say they want Rudy to dress in their place. It’s such a feel good moment. There’s only one problem – it never happened. It’s too good to be true.
Several players from that 70s Notre Dame team gave interviews about their thoughts about the movie Rudy. Many of them mention that specific scene, probably because it’s so iconic and central to the movie. They all said it never happened. In fact, the real coach was quoted as saying, “If a player ever laid his jersey on my desk like that, he would never get it back.” How’s that for heart-warming?
We’re drawn to these stories of sacrifice because they aren’t the norm. Most people are looking out for number one, or merely trying to survive. There’s no margin to sacrifice for another. The scene was beautiful for the movie, but it doesn’t reflect reality. It was too good to be true.
Romans 5:6-8 says:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
That scripture reflects a truth we all know – we’re unwilling to die for others. Outside our immediate family, I bet the list of people you would die for is pretty short. And I know it doesn’t include people you don’t know, or furthermore, people you do know and can’t stand.
The passage also reflects something that sounds too good to be true, like a movie based on a true story that has to clean up the unseemly parts. God, became flesh, and came to this earth to die for those who were opposed to Him? There’s no way. No one would do that. We don’t even want to die for a good person – how could someone, especially God, die for the worst of the worst?
That’s God’s love on full display. He didn’t wait for us to clean ourselves up. He died for us while we were still sinners. It’s not too good to be true. In fact, it can be true for you when you give your life to Him.