John Farrell: Tell me a little bit about My Brother’s Keeper.
Robert Ri’chard: My Brother’s Keeper is a faith-based movie that deals with a lot of the internal trauma that comes from mental illness, coming back from war, finding your spirituality, connecting with your brother, and being open about the vulnerabilities that you have in your life.
It’s an outstanding story and so relevant to what’s happening right now. A lot of us are living in despair right now. There’s a lot of things going on in our politics, and people are suffering. The one thing that’s true always is that God is there for your salvation.
Ty Manns and Bishop Mackie put together an outstanding cast, and the movie talks about something very relevant. It’s going to be a conversation starter at dinner tables all around the world when people watch this movie.
JF: I watched the movie last night and thought the acting was superb.
Robert: The acting is superb in this movie. They cast a great cast. And it’s great being on set when everyone’s dialed in and understands what their mission is, what their agenda is. People brought it with this movie.
I was really surprised and happy for it to be such a strong cast that committed to all the things, especially the emotional stuff that was hard to deal with and hard to attack. Having to open your vulnerabilities in your chest to be able to achieve those scenes.
JF: What is the overall message you hope people take away from the film?
Robert: I think that’s really in the title. We’re all sort of feeling lonely or isolated or like there’s a little bit of internal suffering that we’re all dealing with right now. Whether it be through what’s happening globally, what’s happening in the household, or just not being able to connect.
My Brother’s Keeper is a great title for a reason. It’s a serving title because through God you have to look out for your loved ones, your family, your neighbor. Your happiness comes from your ability to serve others through God.
JF: In your personal life, how have you been your brother’s keeper?
Robert: I’ve committed my life to service. I understand that one of the most important things you can do for anybody is to be a great listener. People need a soundboard, and when you are right with the Lord and God is working through you, you sort of mirror what someone’s ideas are. We may hear them coming out loud like when you’re working through God internally. They start to self-correct what’s important to them or what their value system is.
I think it’s very important to not only be a great listener but to also ask the right questions. People say that there’s no dumb question. Maybe there isn’t but some of the best questions come from high comprehension. So, when I’m listening to somebody, it’s not just a verbatim of what they’re saying. It’s about what their subtext is, what their body language is, what their intentions of what they’re talking about are, what the universe has for you in that message coming from that person, what God is saying through this person. You have to listen.
I walk around and I hear people chit-chat. Chit-chat is great, but that’s different than sitting down, having a meal with somebody, and having a conversation where both people are listening and you’re not jumping on top of the other person’s period because it’s your turn to talk.
JF: So true.
You mentioned PTSD earlier. In your opinion, does the church do a good job of addressing PTSD? It’s an important issue that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people deal with whether it’s caused by something they experienced in the military or something unrelated to the military.
Robert: I think the church definitely addresses PTSD. The story of Job is about people suffering internally. And in the story in the Bible, he is around another community. He is on a ship causing destruction. That is PTSD.
When you are in your community and you cannot help yourself, and you’re causing despair and suffering for those around you, that is the definition of PTSD. And in the book of Job in the Bible, they say throw Job overseas. Throw him in the ocean because it is God’s job to handle Job, not the community’s.
So, when you say the word PTSD in modern times, I’m like, “Oh yeah, that is definitely addressed in the Bible.” It is. Turn to God when you’re suffering and your salvation when you feel that you are walking alone, that is God’s footsteps carrying you.
This movie directly answers that question and attacks that storyline. The only thing that brings the lead character to his resolution is God. And God will tell you to kneel before Him. He’s God. Succumbing to the Lord is the power that rests inside all of us that says, “I cannot do this on my own.”
A lot of times with PTSD you’re trying to handle your internal heart and your internal problems by yourself and not with God. That story is here now. Whether it’s through gang life, through relationships, through dealing with internal suffering, through attempts of suicide, with all these things you cannot do it alone, but you can only do it with God.
A lot of times people have all these false idols where they believe that their status or their luxury items or their money or their membership that they’re a part of is going to make them happy. That is not happiness. It might be comfortable suffering, but the only way you’re going to come to grips and be content in your heart is that you have a connection with the Almighty, your Father who only wants you to come to heaven.
We’re here on earth, and there are trials and tribulations, and even Christ himself suffered here on earth. No one here has any leg up on the Son of our Lord. He died for our sins so that we can be challenged here and understand that the only salvation – the only way to walk into Heaven where there’s no illness, no disease, no suffering, no pain, no trauma – is to go through God and the golden gates of Heaven.
Christianity and Hollywood
JF: From your perspective, how has the treatment of the Christian faith been handled in Hollywood and how has it changed over time?
Robert: I think what happens in any industry is sometimes they shy away from what made it great. Let’s look at the farming industry. The farming industry used to be heavy on praying to God: “Hey God, bring us a great season. Bring us rain. Bring us fertile soil. Let us reap what we sow. Let us bear a lot of fruit to feed everybody because we’re here looking out for ourselves.” That industry has changed.
I’m sure the same thing has happened with the entertainment industry. It started off being love stories and being a lot of stuff. We’ve gone astray from that. It’s because are the people who are at power looking for storylines that work with God or are they looking for storylines that they believe work with Wall Street? That goes right back to false idols.
I don’t know that I’m gonna be entertained if there’s not a God particle in the movies that we watch, because you’re going to walk away going, “Well, that wasn’t that fulfilling.”
JF: Right. And going back to your farming analogy, it’s all about the harvest and that sowing and reaping element.
Robert: Yeah, because there’s a balance there, right? We can’t force good fortune. All we can do is pray about it.
But now, even in the farming industry, they believe we’re going to depend on science. Well, what has happened since they depended so much on science to produce fruit? Looks like everything’s less nutritious. It’s like, “Oh, that’s GMO this or that’s blah, blah, blah or that has no seeds.”
Seeds are important because they are the fiber of reproduction. Seeds are where the miracle lies. This is going to be born into something that can bear more fruit, and we’ve abandoned that. The foods are less nutritious, and now we’re seeing cancer and diabetes and all these other gateway diseases, viruses, inflammation, and malnourishment across the planet.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of Robert Ri’chard’s Interview
Robert Ri’chard is known for his roles on “One on One,” “Coach Carter,” “Vampire Diaries,” “House of Wax,” “Empire,” Nickelodeon’s “My Cousin Skeeter” and many more. He is the reigning National Ambassador for the African American Male Wellness Initiative, which promotes men’s health and wellness. He also participates in humanitarian work including mentoring and speaking with at-promise (risk) youth. Learn more at therobertrichard.com
John Farrell is a Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org.
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