Kindness and Redemption

This is the final post in my mini-series on the thread of redemption found in some of my favorite musicals. You can click here to read how it all started and here and here to read the other posts in this series. I’ve saved the best for last. Well maybe not but more than the other two the theme of redemption is easy to see in this musical.

les-miserablesI first saw Les Miserables on Broadway when I was in High School. Growing up in NYC, and being a lover of musicals, I saw my fair share of shows on Broadway. But watching Les Mis captured my heart and soul in ways I have never been able to fully articulate. It remains my all-time favorite stage musical. I have seen it more times than I can count and know the lines of every single song yet I STILL weep whenever I watch (I wept writing this post). The music is that powerful and the story that moving.

You Are NOT Just A Number

In the opening number Javert refers to Valjean simply by his prisoner number, 24601. Valjean responds by giving his full name but throughout the movie Javert sees him only as a number. He never sees the person behind the number. Valjean rightly states, a little later in the musical, that they gave him “a number and murdered Valjean”.

It’s easy to relegate someone to just a number. What size clothes does she wear? How much money does he make? We give someone a number and then judge them based on that number. But when we do, we miss out on everything about who someone truly is. The essence of a person is lost when they become nothing more than a number.

To the mom who can’t lose the weight she gained bringing life into this world, you are NOT the number on that scale. To the dad working too many long hours, missing the best parts of his children’s lives, you are MORE THAN the size of your bank account.

Society does a hell of a job trying to convince us to measure our worth by things external to us. My challenge is that you stand up to that notion and realize that your worth cannot be found in a smaller dress size, a bigger bank account or a larger house. You are of intrinsic worth and value and nothing can or should take that away from you. You are NOT just a number

One Simple Act of Kindness

A beat down, worn out Valjean is shown kindness by a priest, who invites him into his home, feeds him a hot meal and offers him a warm place to sleep. To repay his kindness, Valjean steals from the priest. When he is caught, however, the priest tells the police that he gave the silver to Valjean. He then tells Valjean he must “use this silver to become an honest man”. Something of the hardness in Valjean breaks at the kindness of this old man and he decides to change his life.

Years later, after assuming a new identity, Valjean learns that another man is set to go to prison after being mistaken for him. He remembers the priest, remembers that “his soul belongs to God” and he reveals the truth of who he really is, despite knowing it will send him back to prison.

The kindness of the priest rescued Valjean from the life of bitterness and misery he was heading down. His life was redeemed by this one simple act of kindness and the ripple effect of his life’s transformation is seen in many of the main characters. Fantine dying in a hospital instead of on the streets. Cosette growing up knowing she is loved and not unwanted. Marius not perishing with the rest of his friends. Valjean’s redeemed life, redeems the lives of so many others in the story.

Kindness and Redemption

Kindness begets kindness. Redemption begets redemption. We can never repay the supreme act of kindness shown to us by Christ on the cross. He does not ask us to repay Him. Instead, He asks that we love our neighbors as ourselves, give a cup of water to one who is thirsty and even share our bread with our enemy. His kindness to us should beget in us kindness to others, including kindness to ourselves. May we, like Valjean, be so humbled by Another’s act of kindness, our only response is to do the same for others.

From my heart to yours,

Makeda

I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts on redemption. I’d love to hear where, in your life, have you found unexpected stories of redemption?

Holley-Gerth-Button-250x250Linking this post with Holley’s Coffee for Your Heart series.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Kindness and Redemption

  1. I agree this story has so many acts of kindness and redemption! I think one of my favorites is the scene with the priest and the stolen silver… It always challenges me to think would I have that kindness in my heart towards someone who stole from me… I would like to think that I would, but in the midst of that situation I would have to fight feeling betrayed. Wonderful post! And thank you for taking the time to stop over at my post today! Blessings to you

    • I know exactly what you mean about that scene. I wonder the same thing myself and also not sure how I would respond if faced with such a moment. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Blessings to you as well.

  2. Hey Makeda! What a great idea for a series. It’s late and I’m all about catching the z’s tonight but I will come back to read – especially the one about the Sound of Music (my favorite). Do you still live in NYC?

    • Hi Lisha. Thanks for commenting. I hope you enjoy them. Glad to hear that we are kindred spirits with The Sound of Music. I don’t still live in NYC. My mom is still there so I get back when I can. These days I’m residing in Charlotte, NC. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the series.

  3. Aliyah says:

    Hey Makeda thank you so much for stopping by and I am so blessed you could share the Jenny post with your friend and I pray she comes to that place of redemption and healing. I love your posts by the way I love musicals too and lots of drama and poetry! May you be blessed abundantly!! Aliyah (setapartwarrior)

    • Aliyah, thanks so much for stopping by and for your sweet prayer for my friend. I am also praying that she finds redemption and a new way of experiencing the Father as I know He continues to woo her. Blessings to you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s