In the way it’s played out here, Will Hunting is a confused young man who wants to keep everyone, even his girlfriend, Skylar, out. Will’s refusal to combat his inner demons causes him to turn into his greatest fear once he goes borderline abusive towards Skylar then says he does not love her. Instead of people or scripture, he relies on book smarts to get past trauma, as he does when shaming some jerk at a bar early in the film. But this doesn’t get him far, as he winds up in a courtroom almost immediately after this scene. This proves that book smarts mean nothing without applying that learned knowledge for the good of those around you. Will may be able to solve complex geometry equations in the hallway but has no self-control to use that in a professional setting, something his therapist, Sean, emphasizes quite a deal at their scene on the park bench. Here’s a biblical example of how knowledge can turn into fruits for the good of another:
Yet Will instead took life into his own hands and ended up with a long list of criminal charges. Will says that he hopes to potentially shepherd others; although at this rate, he’s never going to reach the extent of Moses drawing Israel from the water. (Exodus 2:10, Exodus 14:15-29) Keep in mind though that Moses was approximately eighty years old in the Exodus of Israel, Will still could live many, many more years to contribute a positive difference, as he possibly could after the events depicted in the movie. One of the screenplay’s more provocative lines is, “most people never get to see how brilliant they can be,” which reminds us that our reward lies beyond seeing others tell us of our greatness. (Matthew 6:19-20, Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 11) The fact that the rewards of Will’s brilliance are never seen after the ending in a way gives hope, as it becomes easy to imagine who could potentially be influenced by him.
Though Will has always lacked a responsible father figure, and Sean is the closest he’s ever had to one. When Will smokes inside jail, the college professor lights the match for him, but Sean discourages smoking, making him look like the first person to ever legitimately care for Will’s physical and emotional health. But upon further inspection, Sean is truly no healthier than Will. Once Will mentions his currently dead wife, this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Sean. It proves why defining yourself by a spouse lets you down, as it’s communicated that Sean is in the same state at his boat painting: alone inside the chaos of the waters, despite living a profession meant to help victims overcome those very issues.
Hence, both are deathly flawed in holding on to the past; but at least Sean felt the experience to love another more than you love yourself, as evidenced by a funny story of his wife farting in her sleep. He knows what it really means to let our imperfections unite, but talking from a biblical reasoning, our seeking of perfection toward the cross together comes from us supporting one another in our imperfections. Paul’s writing focuses much on how true spiritual maturity is about forgetting the past to strive forward, not necessarily arriving at the goal of perfection. (Philippians 3:13-14)
That means our mindset of Matthew 5:48 should focus on modeling after the perfection of our Creator, like a child imitating a parent. Tragically, many had just abusive role models to look up to, which is why those individuals require the extra support from men and women who act like true fathers and mothers. We need those Seans to our Wills, we need to be those Seans for other Wills out there. We all need a trusted family member who can see past the ugly façade around ourselves, and say plainly, “it’s not your fault.”
Have a great week, and happy watching, God bless!