The Grinch: A Different Perspective
I spent a couple of hours in the waiting room of the local urgent care and sat through the film How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I’ve seen the animated show dozens of times, but I’d never seen the film. After becoming a believer, the story took on a new meaning for me. I saw the grumpy old Grinch as an unredeemed sinner, and his heart-changing epiphany as his experience of being born again. As I watched the film version of the story, I saw it through yet another set of eyes.
In the film, Cindy Lou Who had an encounter with the Grinch, who had gained a reputation among the residents of Whoville for being a hateful ogre. None of the Whos had ever bothered inquiring as to why he had developed that reputation. In one scene, Cindy became the victim of the Grinch’s cruelty, but then, most unexpectedly, the old sourpuss showed mercy toward her. She was left with an experience that didn’t jive with the narrative she’d always believed about him. It made her wonder—if the Grinch were incapable of doing anything good—as she had always been told—why then did he do something so kind?
Cindy wanted to know the truth, so she began digging into the Grinch’s history. She scoured the town, interviewing all the Whos that had grown up with him. She stumbled upon a story that was almost too bizarre to be true. Apparently, when the Grinch was a boy, one of the popular girls had a crush on him. But another boy had a crush on her, and this boy, out of insecurity and envy, did everything in his power to publicly humiliate the Grinch so that the girl would see him as a failure and turn her affections elsewhere. It was at this point—when he was bullied and made the laughingstock of the town—that the Grinch’s life began to fill with darkness.
Like most of us, the Grinch had become a victim of the spirit of rejection. This spirit preys upon those who are told they’re not smart enough, not pretty enough, or in some way, just not good enough. This spirit reminded the Grinch daily of how he didn’t measure up, how hated he was, and how he would never be loved or accepted. Seeing himself as a failure, he chose a life of solitude. He imagined it would be better to live alone than risk further insult from those who did not love or appreciate him. But the Grinch wasn’t the only victim of emotional trauma in this story.
The Whos held an annual competition for the best holiday lighting display. Two women, Martha May and Betty Lou took the competition to an insane level. They wanted to win the contest more than anything in the world. Just when Betty Lou thought victory was in her grasp, the judge—in an attempt to gain favor with her more buxom competitor—ignored the decision of the Whos and named Martha May the winner. The unfairness left Betty Lou’s heart broken and bleeding.
What kind of person would place such great value on a mere contest?
Someone who has suffered so much rejection that she’s decided she must find acceptance not through friendships, but accomplishments.
The Who that caused the Grinch so much suffering as a boy, and who broke Betty Lou’s heart was himself a victim of the spirit of rejection. One can only imagine how many times he must have been told he was a failure. One way to silence the voice of an accuser is to prove them wrong. So the boy grew up to be the Mayor of Whoville. Holding an important office gave him a sense of accomplishment. He needed it. For on the inside, he was deeply wounded. His wounds caused him to doubt his value to the world and that made him lash out at others in acts of deception and cruelty.
I’d like to share one final illustration from a different story:
Cain killed his brother Abel because his sacrifice was rejected and—misinterpreting the rejection of his sacrifice as personal rejection by God—he killed the one whose sacrifice was found acceptable. Cain was also wounded by the spirit of rejection. It’s only because we are wounded ourselves that we wound others.
The bad news is that we are all wounded in one way or another. The good news is that we don’t need to remain that way. If Christmas is to be a time of peace on earth and good will toward men, it may require the healing of our emotional wounds. One of the things prophesied about the child that Mary would give birth to was that He would carry upon Himself our griefs and sorrows. Have you ever wondered what that means?
It means we can give Him our griefs and sorrows and receive His healing.
May your Christmas be filled with joy and healing,
p.s. If you need more information about emotional healing, I wrote a short book about it.
excellent post…i like how clear your perspective is, it makes so much sense, wow! it’s amazing how much insight there is now that you’ve made it so easy to understand!
i’ll never look at that movie the same again!
many blessings and have a Merry Christmas!
I love your version.
Growing up, I had never liked the story of the Grinch because I thought he was too cruel and mean; I never understood how anyone could act that way. I had always craved to be loved and accepted but instead felt invisible and ignored. I know that wasn’t really true, at least in a physical sense but seeing the Grinch treating people the way he did reminded me of hurts I had experienced. I know now that it was the same spirit of rejection that was in the Grinch that was in me and the reason I didn’t care for the story is because it made me too uncomfortable.
Later in my adult years I could see the Grinch as someone who was hurting and hurting badly. I also know that people are hurting and hurtful for a reason; they had been hurt too.
It’s so true that we all have emotions that need healing, whether we realize it or not. I pray that the realization for that need comes sooner rather than later because the other side of hurting and pain is great joy and peace.
love you and amen. i find the movie excellent for just that reason. if somebody acts that grinchy prickly way, may there always be hope and a voice that speaks love to them. #mystory #mymission
Great, relatable story.
This was touching what you said. I have never seen the movie
I prayed the sorrowful mysteries this morning on the way to work. While I had thought about all of our sins, I had not thought about our griefs and sorrows. Jesus carried those to the cross with him too. Thank you for giving me more to pray and meditate about when I pray these mysteries. God bless you.
Thank-you. I have known this is how things are from a young age. God has worked miraculous healing in my life. I am changing my corner of the world. One prayer at a time. One thought at a time. One kind, true word at a time. One caring action at a time. To change the course of a river takes time. To change the course of a life, takes love. Abba, Father has that in abundance. He gives generously to all who ask Him. Once again, thank-you. – Cathy
I’ll never see the story of the Grinch in the same way
Again, Dave. Thank you for sharing i you out insight.