Are You Trapped by Glass Walls? (Movie Review)

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans9 Minutes

False assumptions and unrealistic expectations create invisible barriers to the life Jesus wants us to enjoy. This JCFilms Studios production invites you into the lives of two pastors’ families trapped by Glass Walls they (and their congregations) built around them. More importantly, the movie reveals how easily glass walls are erected and what it takes to live freely in the presence of God!

A pastors’ retreat comes at a critical juncture in the lives of Doug (Jedediah Jones), Sharon (Melissa Farley), Billy (Eddie McClintock), and Jodi (Kristi Lawrence). Retreat leaders Ozzy (Dean Cain) and Jessica (Sandy Kim) create the perfect blend of challenge, humor, and wacky tasks to bring healing and hope into the lives of discouraged, disillusioned, and broken children of God.

There is an inherent idealism in the desire to serve God—and when that idealism crashes into the reality of ministry, a crisis emerges. The marriages of the couples in Glass Walls have reached a breaking point … pornography, addiction, and unfaithfulness whereas divorce seems like the only escape. All four of God’s kids arrive at the Shepherd’s Canyon Pastors’ Retreat ready to quit their ministries and their marriages. Their hope is gone.

This movie answers the questions that plague everyone at some point or another:

“Where are you, God?”
“What do you want from me?”
“Why is this happening?”

For the pastors and their wives in Glass Walls, those unanswered questions became a barrier that shut God out. Living in the fishbowl of professional ministry, they felt trapped—cut off from one another, from God, and their dreams. The retreat forces the participants to get honest about the frustrations and resentments living without God has brought. Sarcasm, mean-spirited “gifts,” and broken communication boil over. Yet the zany faith of Ozzy and Jessica pave the way back to the hope that is in Christ.

Glass Walls stirs the dying embers of faith in the couples, and as you join them in their journey to honesty and healing, sparks may just light up your own faith.

A Little Deeper Digging

It’s not just ministry professionals who experience the glass walls of Christian living. Putting on your “Sunday Best”—dress clothes, shiny shoes, and well-coifed hair—is a tradition that has lost popularity. But putting on a fake smile, keeping your struggles to yourself, and hiding your pain is a common (destructive) Christian façade. The longer the masquerade continues, the harder it is to break free. Just as Glass Walls concludes, “The question becomes—will you shatter your glass walls?”

Jesus died so you could live free of every barrier—but it won’t happen without hard heart work.

The Bible calls us to “be holy as God is holy” (1 Peter 1:15-6) and to be honest with one another (Colossians 3:9). The commands of God are given to the life of Jesus within us—not to flesh and blood. We are not capable of living a holy life in our natural selves … but that doesn’t let us off the hook. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we agree to die to self (Colossians 3:3). From there on out, we are vessels for the life of Christ—our bodies are not our own.

But we’re called to be honest, too. Our natural self, our flesh, doesn’t give up easily, does it? This is the time to praise God for emotions. They are the flags that fly up in our face, screaming that our flesh is still alive and well. They let us know where we have not yet surrendered to the source of Life! Failing to surrender hurts us, hurts those we love, and damages the body of Christ. God gave us emotions to inform us of what needs to change in us—so HIS body can be healthy and whole.

The ministry couples in Glass Walls felt more than their own problems—they felt the sting of church members who were oozing out self instead of the Savior, too. The parts of our lives that are not surrendered to Jesus will hurt others. On the flip side, those who allow Jesus to flow through them pour out grace and love that leads others to life – just like the church members who gave the pastors a retreat at Shepherd’s Canyon. Hurt people hurt people. Healed people heal people. We choose which we will be.

Getting Honest

Pretending that negative emotions don’t exist or simply “trying harder” when things aren’t going well never works. It’s dishonest. It’s destructive. It’s sin. We’re on a journey toward “sanctification”—we haven’t arrived. We aim for holiness by fixing our eyes on the glory and grace of God. It is the life of Jesus within us that keeps us safe in the hand of God and moving toward His good purposes. Relying on ourselves, our performance, or others creates fear, shame, guilt, blame, and tension. Pretense shatters us, but embracing courageous faith that allows us to live transparently shatters every glass wall that separates us from God and others.

We are created for unity—first with God and then with others. This journey of life is meant to be done together. Here’s how the Message translation of the Bible translates Peter’s explanation in 1 Peter 1:18-21:

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

A Scriptural Litmus Test

One final passage of Scripture that helps you know whether you are living in your flesh or in the Holy Spirit of Christ is found in Galatians 5.

Commonly known as the fruits of the Spirit, verses 22 and 23 tell us that when the Spirit is guiding our choices, we will exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

But when our flesh is in control, life will be full of things like this: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, and orgies (verses 19-21).

Every aspect of the fruit (of both the flesh and the spirit) is worthy of a word study, any effort to use this as a filter for discernment will change your life—if you will let what you see inform what you do. Recognizing a problem doesn’t solve a problem. Action is necessary. Take the time to watch Glass Walls and let it expose the walls you allow to keep you isolated. Then ask the Spirit to heal, fill, and guide you. He’s read—are you?