Only God Could Break Every Chain for Officer Hickory

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans7 Minutes

Break Every Chain – Movie Review

break chains of addiction, need JesusJust the Facts

Actors Ignacyo Matynia, Krystian Leonard, and Dean Cain hit it out of the park in this true story  of a West Virginia policeman. Break Every Chain gives a raw, real look at the heartaches of life and the real need for Jesus.

Director Tim Searfoss handled the storyline of Jonathan Hickory’s life with realism and power. There’s no sugar-coating of the devastation that develops when alcohol becomes a coping mechanism for life’s tragedies.

In contrast to the current tendency of tearing down the police, Break Every Chain honors First Responders even as they expose failings. It was refreshing. The film presented an authentic portrayal of how difficult, how powerful, and how vital faith and forgiveness are in breaking sin’s chains.  And while the value of faith is a strong cord throughout the movie, it’s never presented as a fairy tale solution.

Real hurt, real sin, and a real Savior are what this life — and this movie — are all about. Break Every Chain is a movie well worth seeing.

A Little Entertainment

Jonathan’s disillusionment with God began in childhood with his dad’s death. He couldn’t grasp a God who wouldn’t answer a child’s prayer for his daddy to live. He set out to live a life of meaning by pursuing a career in law enforcement and marrying “the most beautiful woman in the world.” The couples’ joy as they started life serves as a striking backdrop for the darkness that soon descends.marriage restored

The acting is superb, and the depth and breadth of the emotional pain is clearly depicted. The tragedy and violence — as well as Officer Hickory’s responses — are heart-wrenching and may warrant limiting the movie to older teens.

A Little Deeper Digging

There is a richness to this movie that can bring engagement — and heart change — to any who will sit with the truths presented. The dangers of seemingly innocent choices, the necessity of sharing your heart with loved ones, the value of hope, the redemptive power of divine storms, and the healing power of forgiveness are a few nuggets to treasure from this movie.

Every Choice Matters

Building community with your comrades seems like a good choice. What harm can one beer do, right? The Casting Crown’s song Slow Fade speaks powerfully to this issue – and so does Break Every Chain. The chains that hold us captive are built one link at a time.

For Jonathan, it began with an invite to the bar from his new co-workers. The choice to join them set a precedent for dealing with the trauma of his job. That precedent became practice, and before he realized it, the drinking was a chain dragging him into ever deepening sin.

Good habits are built in the same way, though, and the Word of God gives great practical life-building advice. Consider reading and maybe even memorizing some of these:

  • Galatians 6:7-8
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
  • Philippians 3:19
  • Proverbs 23:20-21

There’s an old truism that sums this up with piercing truth: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” Break Every Chain portrays that truth with a power you won’t soon forget.

You Can Be Healed

Broken hearts don’t mend on their own. We need honesty and earthly friends. Break Every Chain gives a glimpse of the power of a godly witness, a strong pastor, and a strong marriage partnership — and a faithful, healing God.

In the film, Stacey reads the story of Jonah to their daughter and shares this profound wisdom: “Jonah was a good man, but he was scared. He didn’t know God had a purpose for him… and God found a way to get his attention. God sent a storm.”

Stacey didn’t know how big the storm was at the time, but she did know how big her God was. Her faithful crying out to God created a hedge of protection for Jonathan. And when the storm raged in her heart, Jonathan clung to faith with equal tenacity. God used the storm to strength both of them — and their marriage.

Stuffing emotions inside a bottle or even in good deeds will not make them go away. Hurts must be brought into the light of the Word of God so the Living Word can heal them. Jonathan nursed his anger against God, rejected invitations to allow Jesus in, kept his struggles to himself, and shut out his wife, Stacey. The result was a disastrous storm that hurt many, but faith that allowed forgiveness brough healing.

Both Jonathan and Stacey now dedicate their lives to helping other First Responders find healing in Jesus, you can learn more about them at their website

Some Bible verses to spend time with include:

  • Psalm 107:19-21
  • Jeremiah 17:14
  • Isaiah 53:5

The road to healing isn’t smooth or easy. Find Jesus-loving friends who will walk with you and hold you accountable. Break Every Chain presents the reality of healing quite well. It’s a hard road but the only one that is worthwhile!

Watch Break Every Chain on Inspiration TV.