Culture

The Heart of Man: Our brokenness is a bridge, not a barrier

by Joanne Kwok // May 30, 2019, 11:36 am

The Heart of Man

I only get to say this once: If there’s a show everyone needs to watch, it is The Heart of Man, which will be released in Singapore on Friday, May 31, 2019.

There’s nothing quite like it that I’ve ever seen, a documentary-styled movie that marries both visual analogy and real-life interviews to carry a singular narrative.

Even at a glance, it’s a beautiful film. Shot on the coasts of Kona, Hawaii, the allegorical segments of the film that tell of the story between Father, the God character, and Prodigal, a young man, are almost otherworldly.

That’s until the voices of various individuals start rolling in like the waves, slowly at first, enough for you to put the pieces together – and then the emotions come, all at once.

You see, The Heart of Man goes where no other faith-based film has gone before: Sexual sin and how it separates us from God. And the men and women who have bravely come forth to talk about it in its barest, rawest form, such as William P. Young (author of The Shack) and Jackie Hill Perry, have seen it manifest in their lives in all sorts of ways.

Pornography. Abuse. Serial adultery. Addiction. Same-sex attraction. The Heart of Man looks it all in the eye and pulls you in for a journey through your own identity, sexuality and relationship with the Father.

A scene depicting the relationship between Father and Prodigal.

Not all of us struggle with our sexuality or sexual sin, or think we do, but here’s the truth: All of us have wrestled, to varying degrees, with the fallenness of our humanity. We break in different ways, but we’ve all been broken. And many of us have stayed broken for longer than we can imagine, landmines of pain lying hidden in the dark corners of our lives.

At Thir.st, we’ve tackled a myriad of related issues head on with stories of young people who struggle with their sexuality, the lure of pornography at our fingertips and where faith comes in with very real desires of the flesh.

As Christians, so many of us have remedied our souls with the Word and prayer, alongside other things, but this life is a battlefield – there are new wounds to be had and old wounds can show up at anytime. We think we’re done walking through some of the deep issues of the heart, but forgiveness and healing take time. It rarely happens right away.

At the heart of porn addiction is pain

Conversely, some of us might be at a place or season where we think we are “more Christian” or “know better” with regards to issues like pornography, sexuality and purity. And there’s a sense of relief that you get to watch The Heart of Man as a spectator – guilt-free, shame-free – thinking that this movie isn’t going to be about you but about some other person who somehow got themselves stuck.

But I challenge us to put aside whatever preconceived mental labels we have on – guilty, no-longer-guilty, friend, leader and pastor – and open our hearts to what God’s message is for each of us through this film, each of His children.

He doesn’t just see those who are crying out for help, He sees every single one of us on our own journey of coming home to Him from whatever is keeping us from His presence.

In order not to spoil the show, I would like to share a passage that captures its heart from a book called Visions From Heaven. The following scene opens with a vision that the writer, Wendy Alec, finds herself in with Jesus.

In this vision, Jesus has shown her a group of people who are struggling with the ugliest of sins, from promiscuity as a church leader, to depression as a missionary. In her vision, these people are walking behind a huge veil-like curtain. Jesus then approaches each of them as she watches.

“Next, Jesus laid His hand on the man who was popping anxiety meds in desperation. He immediately stopped shaking.

“A fleeting pain passed over Jesus’ features.

“‘I don’t condemn you, child. Remember in Gethsemane, when I sweated drops of blood?’ His voice became very soft. ‘I remember what it is to be traumatised by fear…’ Tears streamed down the man’s cheeks.

“With infinite compassion, Jesus drew the sobbing man into His arms, his body wracked with sobs. Jesus raised His head to the onlookers.

“‘I came to set the captive free.’

“Drugs, hard alcohol, prescription medications, pornography – these are only symptoms of unhealed wounds and deep-rooted pain.”

“Jesus’ tears mingled with the man’s tears. ‘Never judge nor condemn those who walk in paths you have never trodden.

“‘I came not for those who are well, but for those in need of a physician.’

“‘I came to bind up the brokenhearted.’

“‘Each of these people you see here today has a fissure in their soul from the enemy. In their desperation of heart, they have tried to fill the unhealed pain, the trauma, the vacuum in their souls with all the things you see beneath the veil of shame today.

“‘Drugs, hard alcohol, prescription medications, pornography – these are only symptoms. Symptoms of unhealed wounds and deep-rooted pain.

“‘My Father is the Great Physician. He is never offended by the symptom. His gentle surgeon’s hand goes straight to the root cause, to the heart of every man and every woman.’

“Jesus raised His hands and tore the heavy curtain in two, laying it on the ground.”

I believe that the Great Physician has come for all of us who are hurting. But healing starts only when we take the courage to run to Him and not from Him. To first acknowledge that we are broken, however this brokenness might manifest outwardly in our lives. To acknowledge that you and I are not “more Christian” and do not “know better” than the next person.

Don’t let The Heart of Man be just a movie but an opportunity for open heart surgery, as we confront our humanity and the war against it. Be bold and courageous to contend for the freedom already bought for us by Jesus Christ – that the world may know there is a God who is much bigger than our personal tragedy, struggle or shame.


The Heart of Man is now showing at Salt Theatres @ Capital Tower. To buy tickets or for more information, visit their website here.

THINK + TALK

  1. Is there anything you struggle with talking about because of shame?
  2. Is there any obstacle between you and God, and the freedom He promises?
  3. Has the Father been calling you back to openness and vulnerability?
  4. How can your faith community help in the journey out of brokenness?
About the author

Joanne Kwok

Joanne is a bundle of creative energy commonly heard before she is seen. She believes in the triune power of good conversation, brilliant writing and bold ideas. She also likes milo.