Good Will Hunting scene:
(Will talking to Sean about his abusive father)
Will: [looking at his file] So what does it say? Will has an attachment disorder? Fear of abandonment? Is that why I broke up with Skylar?
Sean: Didn’t know you had. Wanna talk about it?
[Will shakes his head, stares off]
Sean: Will, you see this, all this crap?[Holds up the file, and drops it on his desk]
Sean: It’s not your fault.
Will: [Softly, still staring off] I know…
Sean: No you don’t. It’s not your fault.
Will: [Serious] I know.
Sean: No. Listen to me son. It’s not your fault.
Will: I know that.
Sean: It’s not your fault.
[Will is silent, eyes closed]
Sean: [steps closer] It’s not your fault.
Will: [choking up] Don’t mess with me, Sean. Not you.
Sean: [steps even closer] It’s not your fault.
[Will shoves Sean back, and then, hands trembling, buries his face in his hands. Will begins sobbing. Sean puts his hands on Will’s shoulders, and Will grabs him and holds him close, crying]
-This scene always gets to me. With each repeat, a wall crumbles in Will’s heart. Walls that shielded him and also kept him from the truth. He couldn’t erase his past, couldn’t hide from it, but now at least, he could begin to heal from it.
There is power in repetition.
Not just in word but in deed as well. If you follow a workout regime, sticking with it even when you are tired and want to skip a day, soon, you will change. Your arms and legs will be strong, and your mind will be disciplined.
Practice is essentially repetition, and so you could say, repetition makes perfect.
Words, however, are repeated often and easily. Every day we repeat words like “I love you”, “hello”, and “goodbye.” We sing the choruses of songs which repeat the core message, the intent of the writer.
We are creatures of repetition, of schedules, and familiarity. But more than that, we seek and thirst for depth, “meaning” that is greater than the day to day words and deeds.
Sometimes a repeated word at the right time can have that effect. It can, like in Will’s situation, break down walls. He may have heard people say, “it’s not your fault” before, but never had it reached his core till now.
We can’t be surprised then when we preach a message to someone and they don’t receive it right away. It generally takes a conscious effort to remember something, and it takes repeating it in our minds for it to stick. In other words, if you want to really remember something, it has to be important to you.
Life-changing messages are often ones in which the listener really connects. It speaks to their heart or their situation at just the right time. They may have heard that message before, but this time it sticks. Something clicks in their hearts and they understand it.
At the end of the day, the only one who can give our words and deeds meaning is the Holy Spirit. Never have I been in His presence and not seen Him move or do a work in people’s hearts.
Anyone can study the Bible, preach it’s message, and tell it’s stories…only with the Holy Spirit do those stories come alive, the messages make an impact, and the verses become relevant to our own lives.
Verses were made to be spoken aloud, and repeated. As Christians, we repeat declarations over ourselves, reaffirming our faith and believing that there is power in the spoken word.
And so, I end by asking you this question. What are you repeating over yourself? What words or phrases seem to be your life motto? Are they positive and life-giving? Can you remember a time when a word reached your heart and changed you?