The Beach Boys

In  the eighth grade, I went with my two best friends, Nancy Wilkowski and Julie Davis, on a three-mile walk to downtown Gainesville, FL. We were headed to The Young American Shop to buy matching surfer shirts. The tee shirts had big blue and white stripes. We felt it was worth every penny of our hard earned allowance and we wanted to be like everyone else in the eight grade.  Surfer mania was instigated by The Beach Boys and their great songs like: “Surf City;” “California Girls;” “Good Vibrations.” Nationwide, these songs were standard fare on transistor radios.

Beach music continues to bring back memories. The Beach Boys with their platinum blonde hair seemed to have such an idyllic lifestyle hanging out on the beach all day. Girls screaming over them seemed like an added bonus. Little did we know that they were just like everyone else with their own set of challenges. Last night I saw a movie, “Love and Mercy”, that revealed their issues.

The mastermind of The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, was the main character. I’m not sure it is a movie that I will be encouraging everyone to see. Wilson’s psychological problems and addiction were hard to watch. Artistically, it was slow in parts. When he was psychotic he met his future wife, Melinda Ledbetter, who extended love and mercy to him. The movie portrays her healing power of empathy.

The take away from this movie has me thinking about love and mercy in my own life. Everybody wants love and mercy in their relationships. Love that is unchanging and unconditional makes us feel safe and secure. Mercy is a gift that is harder to get our minds and hearts around. When we give someone mercy we DON’T give them what we feel they deserve. We may think they need to be punished by our words or actions. Sometimes we think they should be punished by our lack of words or actions. We can quickly become judges thinking we have the right and power to give to others what they deserve.

Two thoughts come to mind. First, I want others to give me mercy for my mistakes. Yes, I mess up and I want others to be quick to forgive me. When they do it feels like a weight has been lifted. Secondly, I need to extend mercy when others mess up. I have a choice. When I am the target of someone’s hurtful words and actions it is hard. I need to extend the same mercy that I so desire from others. When I hold on to my grudges, thinking I am right, then I become a judge.

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:14

Christ triumphed over our sins and extended mercy in our lives by taking our place on the cross. We deserved judgment. Instead, he has given us freedom. There is freedom in our lives to extend mercy to others as we have received it. When we DON’T give others what they deserve, we are merciful.

God wants me to take it to another level. The next level is the gift of grace. Grace is when I DO give them what they do not deserve. Grace may look like a hug or kind word when we are rebuffed. Mercy withholds, grace extends. God’s grace and mercy in my life are the resources that enable me to extend these gifts to others.

Who would have thought a Beach Boys movie would take me down this path? I am thankful. In the meantime, I think these summer days will be a perfect time to put some Beach Boys music on my Pandora. The songs are good reminders of carefree, fun days. Also, “Love and Mercy ” will pop into my mind. That’ll remind me of the work I need to do.


2 thoughts on “The Beach Boys

  1. My devotion time this morning was on this same subject. Then, I read your post and saw it as another confirmation of this important truth. Thank you dear friend.

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