Netflix Movie Review: “That’s What I Am”

Every once in a while I’ll watch something that’s available on Netflix watch instantly program to ascertain it’s moral, social or cultural value.  This was one of those movies.  As a work of art, it wasn’t riveting, but it was one of those stories told like “The Wonder Years” about times that were a little less like they are today.  I think it was produced from an anti-bullying campaign sponsored by the WWE which is interesting all on its own.

I feel like the movie can be summed up by what the mother of the main character, Andy, said in the trailer.  Andy asked his mom why God would make someone that looks like “Big G” who was perceived as the biggest nerd in his class.  Her response was perfect: “Maybe because God didn’t see anything wrong with him in the first place.”

Why do we make definitive judgements based on the limitations of our own perspective?  In the scriptures, the Lord says in Matthew 7:1 and 3, “Judge not, that ye be not judgedAnd why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”  Someone once said, “we see things as we are, not as they are.”  Our perspective is infinitely finite!  Heavenly Father has told us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).  We cannot discern from our humble vantage point the ways or reasons God has for doing the things He does, as lofty as our horses may seem.  We are only commanded that we love one another, to judge not, and to forgiveunconditionally.

I love the story told by President Thomas S. Monson to illustrate this point:

A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.
“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”
John looked on but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.
A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”
John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

“…There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”

I recently read this article about a mom who allowed her son to wear a Halloween costume that others considered taboo.  Other mothers criticized her for her choice claiming that kids can be awfully cruel.  Why is better to be snobby about other people’s choices?  Maybe those mothers could have focused more on teaching their children good values and to love each other and less on censoring other children or their mothers.

To truly have charity and Christlike love takes equal parts thought, word and action.  But, to truly be charitable and to have the image of Christ in our countenance, charity is something we are.

Perhaps when we are tempted to judge we need to pause for a moment and remember that the Lord is in command.  We can “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). Just relax and watch what might unfold with your personal values solidly in place.  Have confidence in who you are without resentment for what others are doing.

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