What Melanie Wilkes teaches us about Jesus…

I’ve forgotten how people in hard circumstances soften when a person of true character comes along…and loves them. I want to be the kind of Christian that Melanie Wilkes was…who gets into the carriage with the Belle Watlings of the world and thanks them for hiding her husband in a whorehouse. Who feels happy to be indebted to them…when i see that, i am without words.
In my opinion, that scene is the high point of the entire movie.

You remember, don’t you? Scarlett had been attacked in Shanty town… a camp outside of Atlanta, where the nere-do-wells lived. When she was rescued by a former slave and her husband, the one she stole from her sister, Frank Kennedy, went with the other men of the community to clean out the camp, where he died trying to save his wife’s honor.

During the night they went to clean it out, Rhett Butler; the scaliwag of the movie, nobly went to the rescue of the men. He found them, Ashley Wilkes wounded with the doctor by his side. He walked them home and pretended to be drunk, fooling all the Yankee soldiers. During the ruse, Rhett Butler reluctantly told them that the men had been with him at the local brothel run by Belle Watling.

It was a scandal, and many who looked down their noses at Belle Watling couldn’t understand how Melanie Wilkes, the kind, loving wife and faithful friend of Scarlett O’Hara could stand to be in the presence of the town harlot.

But it is precisely her loving, forgiving nature, and the ability to see people for who they are and not for what they do, that makes me jealous. I have to say that it is THAT exact ability…to see past what a person does for who they are, that makes the movie for me.

It is going to take sacrifice for the church to lose their pride and self-importance in order to love the world around them. It will take humility to wash the feet of the millennials they seem to scorn so much and it will take far more than humility even shedding of blood, to demonstrate how far the church will go to see the world around them redeemed. Laughing at them will not change their souls. Mocking them will not bring them to the truth…

Yes, it was Jesus whose blood saves the world. But the time is coming…and I fear, is closer than I have thought, when more will be required of us than we have imagined. The church of Jesus must become as in love with the people of God’s creation as God Himself is, and it is going to take some harsh reality to slap the foolishness out of her until she comes to her senses.

How often do we think; not only of the victims of abortion but of the perpetrators of it? How often do we weep for those whose consciences have been seared by the white hot sin of the murder of the innocents? There are those in the abortion industry who are suicidal…because they know you see. They know they have taken the lives of innocent babies but cannot leave the industry for various reasons. They need the church to reach out to them.

How frequently do WE reach out to the homeless? Not just dropping money in their hands when we pass by, but help them to find a job, write a resume, dress for an interview? There are thousands in our communities that need mentors, or even just friends who will spend time with them. Are we listening? Can we teach the illiterate to read? Can we spend some time teaching young couples how to cook or how to clean their homes? Can we show more compassion than talk? Can we give of ourselves and not just our money? My friend, I do not judge you…I am guilty as well. I cannot just enjoy my life if there are millions around me who are going to pass the thin veil of this existence into eternity without Jesus.

It is the Melanie Hamilton’s of this world whom the world is attracted to. It was Melanie’s love that covered Scarlett’s indiscretion with her husband by publicly welcoming her to a party, when others looked with scorn upon her. It was Melanie Wilkes who kept Captain Butler from taking his own life after the death of his daughter. I sit in awe of the selfless like her. I am broken when I see her because of the shell of the man I am in our society. When the Spirit of God shows up in a person’s life, the change is FOREVER!.

Have we forgotten, having been so well fed, what is was like to be hungry? Have we become so accustomed to fine clothing, that we forget what our nakedness was like? Are we so fond of our freedom that we can no longer feel the scars of the chains we once dragged behind us? Does our good health betray our memory of sickness and disease? It is exactly those who have NOT forgotten these things who can; with humility and grateful hearts, go into the highways and byways and compel them to come into the Kings wedding celebration.

While seeing the thousands and thousands of tourists in Gatlinburg, I could not help but to ask myself, “Are they hearing about Jesus?” This current world we live in is a CONSTRUCT,…a thin veil that lies between this physical world and the spiritual one. Once we have crossed that plane…we cannot come back. I enjoyed being with my family..absolutely, but I have to say, in my heart, there was a heaviness that remains right up to this moment. The words of Keith Green came flashing before my eyes…”How can they live without Jesus?” Does that happen to you? Do you yearn to just let go and “have fun, but there, right below the surface of your heart, is the ache for lost souls?

May God give us the courage to give our lives away to the world…and love it, forgive it and hold them close to our hearts the way Jesus does. May God help us to leave our pride and positions in the dust so that those who languish can be filled, and forgiven. It is the only hope of seeing the lost found, and the broken hearted healed. And it will cost the church, everything she has… Lord, begin with me. Help me to give it all away for the sake of the call.

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