Film Night: Thoughts from “The Help”

The church does a monthly film night and last night we watched The Help, set in the civil rights era in America, focuses on the relationships between maids and the white families that they work for.

One scene in particular got me thinking. Skeeter, uncomfortable with the racism shown towards the maids and who holds a lot of respect and fondness for the maid who brought her up, asks her mum about the circumstances surrounding her leaving whilst Skeeter is away. (Just a quick warning this is a bit of a spoiler but not one that I think would ruin the watching of the film, so it’s up to you whether you read on or not). Her mother is forced to admit that the maid didn’t quit after all and a cut scene shows the exact circumstances. Without going into detail Skeeter’s mother has influential people around and feels embarrassed when one of them criticises her for standing for certain behaviour in her maid – who had done nothing wrong. Instead of doing what is right, to save face, Skeeter’s mother asks the maid to leave and effectively sacks her. You can see how upset the woman is by “having” to do so and, in fact, sends her son to try to find the maid and bring her back. This is, perhaps, a choice that we often have to make in life; to do what is right or to do what those who influence us want us to do. We may be influenced by friends, colleagues, our boss, people from church or people that we perceive to have power. It perhaps isn’t easy at times, for fear of what may happen to us as a result but surely it is better to act with integrity, to our own conscience then to bow down to others for fear of what may happen.

“And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

The fact that Moses didn’t think he was good enough is pointed out in the film and yet he was able to lead the Israelites in their liberation from Egypt. As could people who felt they weren’t good enough fight against their oppression through the civil rights movement for their liberation. So too can we make a stand for what is right, despite the fact that we may not feel that we are good enough. To do the right and loving thing, despite the possible consequences for ourselves. To make sacrifice for love, our reference point for life as Christians.

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