Movie Parables: The Hurt Locker

The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.
The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.

We Live In A World Of Pain—A Landscape Littered With Hidden Landmines

In the war drama, The Hurt Locker,[i] Staff Sergeant William James is a member of the Army’s elite bomb squad unit serving in Iraq. He has one of the most dangerous jobs in the world—to disarm terrorist bombs before they detonate. William is looked upon and labeled as “a wild man” feeding off the pressure and recklessly diving into dangerous situations with complete abandon. The men in his unit think that he is a liability. His carelessness could get them killed as he places them in harm’s way.

After watching the film, I came away wondering about the movie title. When you think about it, “the hurt locker” can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people. It will depend on how you interpret it in light of the film. The opening line of the story is telling: “The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”[ii]

The secret is out in a scene as William talks to his baby boy about the things he loves saying, “by the time you get to my age, maybe it's only one or two things. With me, I think it's one.” By necessity, he has learned how to love the ‘one thing’ that would make him dead or alive—his dangerous job description of a drug.

If you take a hard look at William’s world, it isn’t any wonder why he chooses not to evade, but embrace his explosive obstacles. In order to overcome the fear of death, one must choose to diffuse one’s life by dying to self. Therein lies our deliverance. Death is rendered powerless over the dead. Then you come to realize that he isn’t a reckless wild man, but a deliberate dead man. How does William maintain his sanity in every insane situation? And how has he managed to brush off his appointment with death many times over? By necessity, he has learned to love what he does every time he is called upon to venture into the bowels of hell to diffuse another unstable bomb. In the process, he saves a bit of Baghdad’s population from blowing up to pieces.

After every nerve-wracking mission, William stores these disarmed explosive devices that threatened to kill him in a box—a hurt locker. So therein lies our clue: The hurt locker is a safe storage place where potential pain has been diffused and dealt with.

We live in a world of pain—a landscape littered with hidden landmines that have destroyed lives. Where will those who suffer from despair, loneliness, or loss turn to? The body of Christ, the church in the world, opens its doors to the fallen debris of humanity. In truth, the church is a hurt locker where human pain is diffused thru forgiveness and restoration—it’s a storage of broken people being built up in Christ. Do our churches bring healing or cause more harm than good? If Christians like those at Corinth condoned or even promoted painful infighting and factions within the walls of the church, how can they invite those without Christ to come and experience his love in a place of refuge and rest?

The temple in Jerusalem served as a hurt locker where God met the needs of his people. The population would go to the temple to seek refuge, learn truth, request prayers, and receive healing. The temple was central in the life of God’s people. But in Jesus’ day, the temple ceased to serve its purpose. In fact, he called it a den of robbers.[iii] The temple system failed to meet the needs and longings of a spiritually lost and pain-ridden people. It preyed on the weak, segregated the unclean, robbed the giver, burdened the worshiper, and looked down on the down trodden. Where is the love? Jesus, on the other hand, welcomed all the powerless people into his presence saying, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”[iv] The temple system was threatened by Jesus’ presence—for he embodied and executed everything that the temple failed to do. Tragically, the temple’s time of service had run out. Its once subservient but now suppressive system had become obsolete. Jesus had become the portable Temple of God on earth.

Today, the body of Christ, the church, is God’s temple on earth[GS1][GS2][v]—a hurt locker of love. While we live and move and have our being within this sacred locker, why don’t we reread our God-given job description in 1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to and end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

This chapter enables us to embody this love in order to edify the people of God through the multifaceted ministry of spiritual gifts. The church continues to fulfill the mission of Christ in the world. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the church is Christ’s hands and feet called to reach out to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed[vi] in faith, hope, and above all, love.


Endnotes

[i] The Hurt Locker (Voltage Pictures, 2008) written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

[ii] Ibid. The film’s opening quote by Chris Hedges.

[iii] Matthew 11:17.

[iv] Matthew 11:28.

[v] 1 Corinthians 3:16. In John 2:21 Jesus spoke of the temple of his body.

[vi] Luke 4:18.

[GS1]

[GS2]

Copyright 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.

The Hurt Locker (2009) - Official Trailer

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Comments 20 comments

coffeesnob 6 years ago

Gicky

this is powerful. There is so much packed into the idea of a hurt locker. I have the movie, but have not watched it yet. I think I will have to go watch it now. You have pulled the best thoughts out of this "We live in a world of pain—a landscape littered with hidden landmines that have destroyed lives." And it makes me want all the more to be able to provide a place - where the pain kis diffused. Bless you


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

coffeesnob,

Indeed, this film speaks volumes to our generation. The script and imagery is captivating as it is mesmerizing. I encourage you to watch the film and listen closely to the complex lives of its characters.

The world suffers from a scarcity of safe places. The Church-at-large must heed God's call and provide the refuge and rest that broken people seek. She has no greater calling than this: to love the unlovable in a hate-filled world gone astray.

All blessings to you.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

That was a great movie, but tough to watch. I hope it wins the best picture Oscar. "Precious" was even tougher to watch.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

Ralph Deeds,

Ditto to that. I have yet see "Precious." Thanks for gracing my hub.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 6 years ago from USA- Florida

Gickey: Your hub made me think of this prayer that was originally attributed to Saint Francis Assisi: I heard a version of the prayer turned into a song that was recorded in South Africa in the early 1990s by the Integrity Singers. I think it was sung by the Drakensburg boys choir, It is a beautiful song. You can hear it hear at - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqEyCB_KnHA

The lyrics were:

Lord, Make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let your love increase. Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease, when we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred, we will show his love. Where there is injury, we will never judge. Where there is striving, we will speak his peace. To the millions crying for release, we will be his instruments of peace

Lord, Make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let your love increase. Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease, when we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is blindness, we will pray for sight. Where there is darkness, we will shine his light. Where there is sadness, we will bear their grief. To the millions crying for relief, We will be your instruments of peace.

If the church is to be a "Hurt Locker" in the sense you have described more of us will need to adopt this prayer. In keeping with1 Cor 13.

As always your hub is extremely insightful and powerful.

In Christ

ABR


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

ABR,

The lyrics to the song you shared is spot on. Thank you for this amazingly apt contribution to this hub. It's in keeping with Jesus inaugural address in Nazareth: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free" (Luke 4:18).

God bless you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Great Hub. I haven't seen the movie yet, but now it is definitely at the top of my list to see.

Loved this: "In truth, the church is a hurt locker where human pain is diffused thru forgiveness and restoration—it’s a storage of broken people being built up in Christ."

What a powerful metaphor!!! Thank you.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

Ken,

This film seemed to be a "sleeper" on my list last year. It apparently came and went in the big screen. I'm sure that you'll probably find many more metaphors when you finally view it.

Stay well Brother.


restoremyheart profile image

restoremyheart 6 years ago

Love is everything:) I guess without hurt, maybe I would not truely know love? Good hub, that was scary, when that guys pulled up those lines!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

restoremyheart,

Thanks for dropping by for a visit. All blessings.


jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

Thanks for explaing the word of God with movie parable.

Nice hub


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

jacobkuttyta,

I appreciate your visit. God bless you.


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Awesome Hub! You did it again, gicky. Love to read your hub-pages. Yes, some people put themselves in harms way everyday. Physically and Spiritually, the armor helps:) This hub, reminds me too, that I need to pray more for the troops, facing the daily battle. Good read!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

heart4theword,

Thank you for being a part of my readership and the time you take to leave me an encouraging note. God bless you.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

In the features of the film's DVD Jeremy Renner said the movie is not an antiwar film but a movie about men in the military. And true enough, the movie is more about man's war with what makes him human. In hindsight, the war in Iraq as depicted in the movie seemed only incidental, a backdrop to add a sense of realness and relevance and currency to what the movie's trying to send across.

Great analysis of the movie, and I appreciate the uh 'segue' (for lack of a more apt term) to a discussion of a biblical reading. :D


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

Cris A,

It's interesting how these military men in the actual war zone commented on the film. In essence, that it would be totally unreal to bring a "wild card" like Renner's character into the mix placing the entire bomb disposal unit in harm's way. But that's Hollywood for you. In order to make for a "gripping story" and captivate a wider audience, they take license or exercise the writer's freedom in introducing these types of characters and the tension that comes with the territory. And I believe that the cast and crew behind The Hurt Locker achieved that. They embellished a story and the film got noticed, nominated, and ultimately was given the Oscar nod in numerous awards.

I truly appreciate your visit and your helpful contribution to this hub.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

What an amazing hub - makes me really want to see the movie now.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

Thank you Jean. I encourage you to watch the film.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

Well, I intended to see the movie, now I must go - you did a great invite! And the points of truth you present are so valid - for us all. Thank you for strong and gentle words!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California Author

May we all live up to this truth as we dare to diffuse our wounded world. All blessings to you.

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