This post comes from my wife, Hawley Schneider. She has been my muse on many occasions, providing pieces of culture she thinks I should consider writing about or incorporating into my preaching and teaching. I keep saying, why don’t you write something about it? She finally has:
I have a few shows that I like to call “folding TV.” I keep it under wraps that I sometimes watch them, generally doing so while folding laundry, by myself. They’re shows that are easy to watch without paying a lot of attention, and ones that my husband might not keep at the top of his list. Occasionally though, scenes jump out at me for their powerful message of grace, or they otherwise beg to be brought into the Mockingbird, er, fold. (I couldn’t help the pun.)
One such scene comes from the popular show New Girl, where a character named Nick experiences powerful, moving grace from a stranger. Nick is a law school drop-out who is now bartending and barely making rent each month. He’s hard on himself and has anger issues. After losing his temper with his roommates, he wanders off to avoid their judgement at his anger and having his anger escalate.
This interaction is so powerful (and funny) because we aren’t even sure if this man understands Nick; and yet his quiet, patient stance of listening without judgement, or giving advice, or even interruption causes Nick to open up to him like he never has to anyone before. As a result, Nick finds himself endeared to the stranger and finally ready to see himself for what he is—only then is he willing and able to begin addressing his anger in a new and healthy way. It’s counter-intuitive, but being listened to rather than being told what or how he needs to change actually results in the opening of Nick’s eyes to his own sin. It’s an unexpected and yet all the more convincing moment of repentance. I hope you enjoyed watching it … unfold.