Bruce Almighty (Angry at God)
Main Point of Discussion: We cannot let our situations define who God is…especially when those situations are bad.
The Movie Clip: God is Mean
Bruce (Jim Carrey) was just a normal guy, trying to work his way up from newscaster to news anchor at WKBW News. At the beginning of the movie, Bruce’s life partially falls apart, and he blames God for everything that has gone wrong. True enough, Bruce has been dealt a pretty low blow by a coworker but Bruce takes out all his frustration on God. The movie takes an interesting turn when God (Morgan Freeman) gives Bruce a surprise visit…and surprise powers. Now, normal Bruce has become Bruce Almighty! Look out world.
Introducing the Clip:
I want to show you a clip from a really funny movie called Bruce Almighty. In this clip, Bruce has just found out that his slimy coworker Evan has manipulated the boss and weaseled his way into a promotion that Bruce had been working hard to earn. On a live telecast, Bruce loses his cool, and then loses his job later that day as a result of his on-air tantrum. That’s where this clip picks up. Let’s see how his day goes from there, and how he handles it.
BEGIN CLIP AT 17 minutes and 22 seconds (in Chapter 5).
Note: The cue points are for a much longer scene than the WingClips video clip you see above. If you decide to rent the movie and use the cue points we list, that will correspond to the whole scene script we provide below. But if you use the shorter version (the WingClips video), then the scene script is for just the last part where Bruce is in his apartment and ranting to his girlfriend.
- Bruce: (violently fired from his job, he is tossed out the back door) That is perfect. That is the motivation that I needed. Right there! Thank you. Thank you W.K.B.W. Wimpy Kitty Baby Whiners! That’s what that stands for! I’ll see you on Channel 5 where they do the real news.
(Bruce continues huffing and puffing as he walks to his car. Just before he gets in his car he notices a homeless man being harassed by a gang.)
Gang Member: Do I look blind to you? Do I look blind to you?
Gang Member: Let’s go, man. Come on. Let’s go.
Bruce: What are you doing over there? Come on. Leave the poor guy alone. (As Bruce walks toward the situation, the gang members make their exit.)
Bruce: (to the homeless man) You okay man?
Bruce: (to the gang members) Yeah. You better keep walkin.
Gang Leader: What? What’d you say, ese?
Bruce: (to the homeless man) Run man! Run! Oh, God!
(Bruce turns and runs to his car, desperately trying to fish his keys from his pocket. The gang overtakes him, tackles him, and beats him on the asphalt.)
Bruce: (while he is being punched and kicked) Okay, okay, okay! I didn’t mean it! I was just kiddin’!
Gang Member: Hey, you forgot your things. (He then pours the contents from Bruce’s box onto him.)
Gang Leader: (as they are all walking away) Say somethin’ to that. Say somethin’.
Bruce: (pulls cloak off his bloody face) B-E-A-utiful. That’s what I get. That’s what I get for trying to help someone. Oh, don’t look at me Walter. (looks at his vandalized car) Oh no! We’ll that’s my payment, I guess. That…that is my reward. (begins cleaning up his belongings from the parking lot when he notices the homeless man holding a sign that reads LIFE IS JUST.)
Bruce: Just? Just get a clue!
(Scene switches to Bruce’s apartment later that same night.)
Grace: Thank God you’re all right.
Bruce: (Sarcastically) God! Yeah, let’s thank God, shall we? For his blessings are raining down upon me. Wait! That’s not rain!
Grace: Bruce, please don’t do that, honey. You know that everything happens for a reason.
Bruce: That I don’t need. That is a cliché. That is not helpful to me. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I have no bird. I have no bush. God has taken my bird and my bush.
Grace: Oh. I see. So God is picking on you, is that what you’re saying?
Bruce: No. He’s ignoring me completely. He’s far too busy giving Evan everything he wants.
(Scene cuts to the dog peeing on the floor.)
Bruce: Oh, that’s great, Sam. But you missed your target. I’m over here!
Grace: Don’t get mad at the dog. It’s not the dog’s fault.
Bruce: No. It’s God’s fault. I gave him the wrong coordinates.
Grace: Alright. You know what? Enough, alright! Will you stop being such a martyr?
Bruce: I am not being a martyr. I’m a victim. God is a mean kid sitting on an anthill with a magnifying glass, and I’m the ant. He could fix my life in 5 minutes if he wanted to, but he’d rather burn off my feelers and watch me squirm!
Grace: Sweetheart, I know that you’re mad. It’s completely understandable. What Evan did was slimy and wrong. But this day could have been so much worse. I’m just glad you’re okay.
Bruce: Okay? News flash! I’m not okay! I’m not okay with a mediocre job! I’m not okay with a mediocre apartment! I’m not okay with a mediocre life!
Wow! Talk about a bad day, huh? Bruce loses his job, he gets beaten up, his car gets vandalized, his dog pees on the floor, and he gets into an argument with his girlfriend, Grace. But that’s not the worst part. The biggest tragedy of his day is when he blames God for all the disappointments in his life. Bruce makes some cutting accusations of God in his rant to Grace. He defines God by how his life is going, and since life stunk right then and there, so does God. Let’s spend some time trying to determine if this is a good strategy for understanding and relating to God.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started tonight, let’s all take a second and share our names and our favorite Jim Carrey movie.
- ASK A FEW: In the clip we just watched, Bruce makes some statements about God. What were some of them? (Leaders: God has taken his bird and his bush; God is ignoring him completely; it’s God’s fault; God is a mean kid sitting on an anthill with a magnifying glass torturing him.)
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever had a day like Bruce’s, when everything seemed to completely fall apart? If so, can you quickly tell us about it?
- ASK THE SAME FEW: Honestly, what did you think God was up to while all that was going on? What did you believe about God during those moments?
- ASK A FEW: A lot of people like Bruce blame God for the despair in their lives. Is that fair to do? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: What should be our response toward God when our lives crash and burn?
Read the following passage:
Psalm 102:1-12 (NLT)
1 Lord, hear my prayer!
Listen to my plea!
2 Don’t turn away from me
in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
and answer me quickly when I call to you.
3 For my days disappear like smoke,
and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
4 My heart is sick, withered like grass,
and I have lost my appetite.
5 Because of my groaning,
I am reduced to skin and bones.
6 I am like an owl in the desert,
like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
7 I lie awake,
lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.
8 My enemies taunt me day after day.
They mock and curse me.
9 I eat ashes for food.
My tears run down into my drink
10 because of your anger and wrath.
For you have picked me up and thrown me out.
11 My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows.
I am withering away like grass.
12 But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever.
Your fame will endure to every generation.
Tonight we watched a video clip about a guy who's was having the worst day of his life. In the clip, Bruce basically has a bunch of things stripped away from him all at once, and he's incredibly disappointed with his life and with God. Instead of humbly seeking God, though, Bruce just rips into God. Even Bruce’s girlfriend Grace can’t calm him down.
Then we read a story of another guy, whose name we don’t know, and got a sneak peek into his life. He has it fairly rough, too. He vividly describes his life in bleak terms, but unlike Bruce who accuses God, this guy asks God to just listen to him. At the end of the passage we read, we hear this guy declare that God is still on the throne, that he is still in charge, and he will be forever!
Too often, we make assumptions about God when we face troublesome times. We sometimes think God is a jerk, or as Bruce put it, a mean kid sitting on an anthill with a magnifying glass torturing us. He’s God, so that means he can do whatever he wants, including torturing us. At other times, we may think God just doesn’t care. We aren’t willing to say God is “mean” but we certainly aren’t willing to say God’s kind, either. God is just kind of “out there” and He really doesn’t get involved in our lives. Finally, sometimes we may think God is some sort of cosmic wimp. We truly believe God loves us, but he isn’t powerful enough to do anything about our problems or our troubles.
The good news is, none of these assumptions are true. God isn’t mean…in fact, the Bible says that GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4)! The last thing God would ever have on his holy mind is torturing us. God created us and calls us his children! Also, God truly cares for us. Actually, God cares for us so much, he tells us that we can cast all our cares upon him and he will sustain us (Psalm 55:22). Finally, God is far from a wimp…God is so powerful that even death cannot stop him from being with us.
When we face tough times, it’s easy to react like Bruce does. But we can’t buy into those lies about God. God loves us and wants the best for us, even when we are in the middle of a terrible situation. God's love for us is never going to change – it’s always going to be perfect! Remember that the next time you think you're having the worst day of your life.
Close in Prayer
Idea by Danette Matty, Written by David Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.