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Used by permission of Liz Lemon Swindle. Painting available through Repartee Gallery.

Real True Grit

I recently enjoyed a remake of a western motion picture familiar to many. The title was "True Grit." It was quit exciting, filled with action, and originality. You actually felt like you were there in the Old West.

The story begins in 1878 in Arkansas. As the plot thickens the audience is transported into the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. The story surrounds a 14 year old girl named Mattie, who seeks justice for the senseless murder of her father. She recruits a tough old marshal, "Rooster" Cogburn, because he has "grit", and a reputation of getting the job done. His goal is to bring the outlaw to justice.

The dictionary defines the noun "grit" as courage and resolve, fortitude, strength of character, backbone. The verb "gritting" means to clench ones teeth in order to keep one's resolve when faced with a painful or unpleasant duty.

The original movie "True Grit" was produced in1969. John Wayne played Rooster Cogburn. Recently the re-imagined movie casted Jeff Bridges as "Rooster." Both actors were excellent as they portrayed this large statured, crusty, rugged, abrupt, one-eyed Marshall. He looked quit intimidating, and he knew it!

I found it interesting how the audience seemed to revere Rooster. He was the movie's hero. Many may have had a hidden desire to possess his courage, backbone, and "grit."

He stood tall and bowed down to no man. There were no apologizes and no excuses. Self-indulgence, self-gratification, were no strangers to him. He was who he was, and would not change for anyone. He lived by his own rules, and nobody else's. As the audience became acquainted with Rooster, it was clear that he did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it, and how he wanted to do it. The ends seemed to always justify the means. He feared no man, not even God. He believed every man has his weaknesses, and God understood. He valued his pride above all things, for without pride, you are not a man! If a disagreement needed to be settled, it could be done with fists behind the barn. In some cases a gun worked better, but supposedly only when used in self-defense. Still, within Rooster buried beneath layers of ego and self-serving behaviors, there was some sense of right and wrong.

In the climax of this action film, Rooster faces the bad guys in a duel. Four against one in an open meadow, mounted high on his horse, Rooster pulls out a rifle and a gun, one in each hand, and charges. Into the valley of death with guns blazing, you hear the words, "I'll see you in... (you've heard the word). He kills three and then his horse is shot out from under him.

For those of you who have not seen the movie, I will not spoil it. I did notice, that the audience watched in amazement, and adrenaline flowed. There, before their eyes, they witnessed courage, backbone, and "true grit" in action.

What is "true grit?" Not the worldly perception of grit, as portrayed in a Hollywood movie, but real grit. Not the grit that seemingly makes one manly, but the one that makes man godly. The man who is spiritually endowed with "true grit," does not solve his problems with his fists clinched behind a barn. With clinched hands on bended knees in his closet, he faces his challenges. He does not always stand tall to intimidate and conquer, but often he respectfully bows before God in reverence as he seeks divine direction. In those moments of quiet reflection he does apologize to His Maker, and later to those he may have offended. True grit requires great inner strength and unmatched courage. It demands that one confesses his sins and thereafter forsakes them.

A man with true grit demonstrates his fortitude through constraint of words, and restraint of impulsive actions. True grit is learning self-control in order to become the master of one's own destiny. He achieves his destiny, under the guidance of deity.

True grit is knowing that the ends do not justify the means. There are divine laws and principles that govern all things. True grit is having the backbone to become more honorable, more trustworthy, and more noble. True grit is burying false pride and replacing it with humility.

With punitive eyes the world sees humility as a weakness. Little do they know that it is filled with true grit, and virtues unknown to the natural man.

True grit is built upon a foundation of humility. Matured humility supports pillars of faith, confidence, self- mastery, and love. In its practice, humility exemplifies courage and strength; in its majesty, devotion, trust, and charity. The light and truth evolved through humility can topple any barrier, conquer any foe, illuminate anyone's understanding. With humility problems are solved with love and patience, not fits of fury. The power and influence of humility, can fell a wall of emotion. When perfected in love, it can repair any broken heart, that seemingly cannot be fixed.

The man with true grit puts His trust in God, and in the Master. Thereafter, he becomes like them. He learns of them not only through adoration, but through emulation. True grit means having the strength to become as Christ is. It is to follow Him, be a witness, carry His cross, be about His Father's business at all times in all places.

True grit is making covenants and keeping them. It is being trustworthy. True grit is facing adversity when the odds of success seem bleak. Yes, it is swallowing pride, enduring pain, showing patience in long suffering, and sometimes making a sacrifice you are not ready to make. It is putting aside what you may want for yourself more than anything else, for the greater good of others.

The perfect example of "true grit" is not found high in the saddle in a shoot-out on an open battlefield. It is found in the memory of 40 days and 40 nights of fasting. Famished for lack of food, a man was carried away and upward to the highest mountain peak overlooking the world. There He was taunted, ridiculed, and tested. True grit is beheld one dark lonely night in a place known as the Garden of Gethsemane, where blood dripped from every pore. There, justice was subordinated to mercy. True grit is witnessed when this same man was scourged with countless lashes, nailed to a cross, and then hoisted upward to be viewed on a hill called Calvary.

Jesus Christ lived a life with true grit. The courage, strength, fortitude, and resolve He demonstrated on our behalf is beyond comprehension. When asked, "what is true grit," my friend, you now have an answer. It is found in our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord, our King. So go, walk with resolve, stand with fortitude, move forward in courage, take strength in His love, and with true grit follow in His footsteps.

SHORT STORIES

For Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also

Gold At St. Peter's Gate

Heavenly Trek and Handcarts

Master Mahan's Plan

Picture Yourself In That Day

Sacred Moments Hard To Endure

The Parable of Perception

Three Sisters and The Resurrection

Real True Grit

What It Means To Know Christ