Vigilant: New Film Exploring Hurt, Struggles, Addiction

Our world is hurting. We constantly witness and experience violence, trauma, racism, mental health issues skyrocketing, and addictions of all kinds. These crises uniquely impact young people as they experience unprecedented levels of trauma, shame, anxiety, depression, and porn use.

I know many of these struggles all too well. Growing up, my parents were in full-time ministry with a large Christian organization, yet my dad was often angry, distant, and abusing alcohol. As I grew up, I lived in fear of him and struggled to fit in anywhere. By the age of eight, I was riddled with mental health issues and a sense of worthlessness. Eventually, I became addicted to food and porn. I began dealing with suicidal thoughts. I wondered if anyone would care if I ceased to exist.

Amidst all of the pain, challenges, and questions, it can be hard to know how to care for ourselves and others, and share the gospel in a way that resonates with the hurt and struggles others are experiencing. That's why the Resolution Movement of Josh McDowell Ministry teamed up with Jesus Film Project® to create "Vigilant."

This short film tells the story of Kevin, a dental hygienist addicted to Grabbles (an extremely unhealthy snack cake). Kevin tries to stop his struggle on his own, only to discover that the cake company malevolently intends to keep him as a loyal customer. He then enlists the help of a group of addiction survivors to help him fight the corporation that wants to keep him addicted to their snacks. As you watch this action-comedy, you'll see Kevin walking the road to overcome his struggle and finding that it can't be done alone.

What I love about the film is Kevin's story is most of our stories, Christian or not. We all have had some kind of struggle, addiction or not, that we’ve tried to overcome. It could be anxiety, shame, porn, or anger, to name a few. But often, we try to muster up willpower and overcome these things alone. Worse, we can struggle to acknowledge the spiritual battle we are in or know why we do the things we don't want to do. Too often, we reduce complex issues down to simply a matter of our old sinful nature or chalk it up to how we are wired.

But the reality is, all of our struggles have deeper reasons unique to our journey that we must discover. These deeper and unresolved areas of our lives are things Jesus wants to heal in a close and personal relationship with Him. Our struggles aren't random; they're signals that, when answered, pave our way towards a thriving life with Jesus and others.

Watch the film with a friend, small group, or by yourself. Use the Conversation Guide to go deeper and discover proven principles to overcome a variety of hurts and struggles.

Director of the Resolution Movement

Josh McDowell Ministry

For years, Ben experienced deep anger, trauma, a porn addiction, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression before finding hope and healing through biblical, neuroscientific, and psychological solutions. He resides in Dallas, Texas, and serves with Josh McDowell Ministry (A Cru Ministry) as an author, speaker, and the Director of The Resolution Movement (resolutionmovement.org)–a global initiative helping people overcome hurts, unwanted behaviors, and live a thriving life.

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