Main Point: No matter what it requires of us, family is always worth fighting for.
The Movie Clip: Fight for Me
Real Steel was a great movie that most people didn’t see in 2011. Set in the future where robots are the all star athletes, the movie starred Hugh Jackman (a deadbeat dad named Charlie) and Dakota Goyo (his neglected son, Max). Charlie, a boxing “has been,” can’t seem to catch a break with his robot boxing gambling addiction; one scheme after another fails. And when he discovers he has been given custody of his son, he believes the kid will only complicate his life. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Charlie takes Max on the road with him and teaches him the ropes. Max has a penchant for building robots that win fights, and that makes him valuable to his father. But when Charlie’s past catches up with him, it costs both of them dearly.
Charlie and Max soon learn – the hard way – that the robots aren’t the only ones engaged in a fight for their lives.
Introducing the Clip:
Real Steel is a movie about the future of boxing where robots do all the fighting. Charlie, played by Hugh Jackman, is a former boxer himself, though nowadays, he spends most of his time trying to gamble his way through life, building and betting on his robots. The only problem is, he’s bad at it, and he keeps losing…big time! He owes lots of money to lots of really bad guys. To make matters worse, he finds out he’s got to take care of his son who’s never been a part of his life.
When young Max, played by Dakota Goyo, comes on the scene, his technical abilities make him a great partner in his dad’s “business.” Together, they build and bet on their robots. For a while, things seem to go great. They win match after match, and rack up lots of money. In fact, the scene I’m about to show you comes on the heels of one of their greatest victories.
But then, Charlie’s old life catches up with them. Ricky, a guy Charlie owes money to, shows up to collect. Both Charlie and Max get roughed up pretty good. When the dust settles, Charlie does what he thinks is best: turn Max over to the custody of his Aunt Debra and Uncle Marvin.
Let’s take a look at how Max responds to Charlie’s decision.
BEGIN CLIP AT 1 hour 26 minutes and 24 seconds (in Chapter 14).
The scene opens with Charlie and Max about to celebrate their biggest win in robot boxing, but they bump into Ricky, a guy Charlie owes lots of money to. Ricky and his goons rough up Charlie and Max. In the aftermath of the scuffle, Charlie decides it’s best for Max to go live with his Aunt Debra and Uncle Marvin.
When Charlie tries to pass Max off on the aunt and uncle, Max and Charlie have a big argument.
Aunt Debra: Max, we have our own swimming pool and we have a hot tub and a lot of super fun toys to play with. Do you want to play with them? It’s going to be fun.
Charlie: What’s going on?
Aunt Debra: Well, he won’t even talk to me, so thanks for that, Charlie. I’m going to wait in the car.
Charlie: You don’t want to talk, fine. I’ll talk. What do you want me to say? I’m sorry? No. You knew. You knew from day one what this was. You decided to take the ride. What Max? You thought you, me, and a little robot from the junk heap were going to ride off into the sunset? Come on. No, you forgot who I was! You deserve better…than me. Will you say something, please? I tried OK. What do you want from me?
Max: I want you to fight for me. That’s all I ever wanted.
END CLIP AT 1 hour 32minutes and 40 seconds.
In this clip, we saw a dad confess that he had made some mistakes, but we also heard him say that he believes his son has made some mistakes, as well. But the final words of the argument were the most gripping for me. All Max wanted was for his father to fight for him. Max wanted to be wanted, and all Charlie wanted was to win. You’re probably in the same boat as Max. You want your parents to fight for you. If so, you’re not alone. Having a family that fights for us is incredibly important. In fact, fighting for your family goes all the way back to biblical days. Let’s split up and take a look at a true story about a woman who was willing to fight for her family.
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, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether or not you think robot boxing would be a good sport.
- ASK A FEW: What do you think Max meant when he said he wanted his dad to fight for him?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think it was so important to Max for his dad to fight for him?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think Max’s dad never fought for him?
- ASK A FEW: Is it easy or hard to fight for your family? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think God wants us to fight for our families? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
Joshua 2:1-21 (NIV)
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. 2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut. 8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.” 14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land.” 15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 Now she had said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.” 17 The men said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.” 21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.” So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
Tonight we had the opportunity to see what happens when a father isn’t willing to fight for his child. It separated them, strained the relationship, and broke the boy’s heart. He just wanted a dad that was willing to fight for him as hard as he fought for himself. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but if you haven’t guessed it by now, through the magic of Hollywood’s happy endings, Charlie DOES go back and fight for Max. It’s a pretty cool story…in the end.
Speaking of the end of the story, you probably never found out how Rahab’s story ended. Just a few chapters later, we see the Israelites assembling for the battle of Jericho. Take a listen to what happened on the fateful day God’s people attacked the great city.
Read Joshua 6:13-25 (NIV).
The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days. 15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.” 20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it– men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. 22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. 24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho– and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
Rahab was willing to put her life on the line to save her family. She knew her family was worth fighting for, so she made a huge sacrifice and ran a great personal risk to save them. In the end, God honored her courage and did spare her life!
She fought for her family…and won!
But that’s not even the end of Rahab’s story. Nope. The really cool part of this story isn’t discovered for over a thousand years. When we turn to the opening pages of the New Testament, we find that Rahab is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother of a Guy named Jesus.
Yep, Rahab was fighting for her family…which would one day include the Son of God! Aren’t you glad that Rahab fought for her family?
So, how about you? Do you think your family is worth fighting for? I sure hope so. I don’t know what kind of fight you’re in for, but I want you to know, you’re not in it alone. We’d love to help in any way we can. In a moment, we’re going to close in prayer, asking God to help us fight for our families. But if you need to talk with someone about what you’re facing at home, we’ll stay as long as you need us to.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; 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.