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Happy Valentine’s Day! I confess, this day isn’t high on my list of holidays. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving even St. Patrick’s Day rank much higher. But I do plan to observe what this day represents with my wife, as we are planning a weekend getaway.

Love is a complicated, mysterious, misunderstood entity. It would even be more clouded and confusing, if one were to see the movie “50 Shades of Grey” (or so I’m told) which comes out this weekend. Fulfilling sexual lust, especially through acts of bondage and abuse, is a horrible misrepresentation of love, but it is unfortunate how many today seem to think love can be demonstrated in a gross sexual nature. These people are sadly mistaken.

As Christians, we know the greatest example of love. Contrary to what Whitney Houston used to sing, the greatest love of all is “that someone would lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). A more elaborate description of love can be found in I Cor. 13.

Therefore, in this week’s Doyle’s Half Dozen, I present six movies that relay a much better message of love than “50 Shades.” Now, please understand, some of these movies may not fully meet your standard of approval. Some have other flaws, such as profanity and adult situations, but from my recollection, even if from one particular scene, I drew a better reflection of love.

  1. “Places in the Heart”

Sally Fields plays a widow during the Depression, having to survive and keep her family and close friends together by fielding cotton with the help of her friend Moze, played by Danny Glover. You want to see real love in action? Just watch what Sally Fields does in this Oscar-winning performance.

  1. “Good Will Hunting”

Okay, okay. Please hear me out. Yes, I know it’s Rated R. Yes, I know it is loaded with profanity. But I’m only going to point out one particular scene. Robin Williams plays Matt Damon’s counselor, and they are talking about Will (Damon) having a date with this girl who he said is “perfect.” This is a great exchange between two tremendous actors, but I love the key line that Williams gives:

“You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.”

Also, the commitment that Williams’ character expresses about his wife passing away, remaining faithful to her the 18 years of their marriage, giving up six years of his job in order to care for her… yes, there are problems with this movie, but this portrayal of commitment to his wife isn’t one of them.

  1. “Seabiscuit”

This is another movie that I’m just pointing out one scene. Overall, I think the movie is great, but here’s the scene of emphasis:

Jeff Bridges plays the owner of the famed race horse Seabiscuit. In a scene with Tobey Maguire, the jockey, Bridges is asked by Maguire for some money. This is a breakthrough situation because Maguire has a very rough past, doesn’t get along well with most people, and for Maguire to ask his boss for money is a demonstration of humility that has not been seen yet in the movie. Bridges is willing to give him the money and asks how much he needs. Maguire requests $10. Bridges gives him $20.

You want to see an example of God’s love and grace on the movie screen (Eph. 3:18-22)? There you have it.

  1. “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Atticus Finch is considered by the American Film Institute to be the greatest film hero character. The powerful defense attorney, respected by many in the community shares this powerful, wise line:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Finch’s willingness to be fair and objective and defend for what is right is an excellent example of love.

  1. “Julie & Julia”

This creative movie is partially about Julia Childs, played by Meryl Streep, and her time in France with her husband Paul, played by Stanley Tucci. The love and commitment Paul demonstrates to Julia is strong and simply expressed in this great line that he uses to describe her:

“You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.”

  1. “Fireproof”

“Finally he mentions a Christian movie!” – you were just thinking.

Yes, “Fireproof” is a great movie and would be an excellent replacement over “50 Shades.” More than I want to share from the plot, a great example of faithful love is what happened behind the scenes.

Kirk Cameron stars as a man who is struggling with his marriage. Eventually, he and his movie wife reconcile and express their love with a passionate kiss. In order to stay true to the character as well as true to his wife in real life, Cameron went beyond what would be expected and was filmed kissing his actual wife who subbed in for the scene.

So there’s six examples. I’m sure you may have another alternative movie option. If so, please share!