Rise (2014, not 2016) is based on a true story, and I’m sure the author would say it is a true story. It was written, directed, and produced by Mack Lindon, the result of combined journaling and therapy that helped Mack keep focused and positive during the 19 months he was incarcerated at a high security prison in Australia for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s also an eye-opening account of life on the inside of a prison: “Rise is about life, it’s about life inside [a prison] and there’s a lot of pressure, you’re in a constant state of paranoia at times looking at your back, and you’ve only got your word inside so you’ve got to be true to that, which helped me tremendously” (Mack Lindon). Although it’s a rough story, I felt it was worth watching and brought to mind more than one instance in which I’ve been asked to pray for someone facing trial on what was believed (by my friends) to be false charges. In fact, I have a close friend whose son came within a hair’s breath of being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit after the plaintiff (mistakenly) identified him in a line up. It was only when the true criminal came forth (a young NY lawyer) and confessed that my friend’s son was released. Incredibly unsettling, but unjust decisions do occur at times in our imperfect world with our imperfect judicial system, as threatening as that is to those of us who assume we’ll be safe as long as we’re trying to obey the laws of the land!
The movie clearly has redemption in it, and Mark (“Will” in the movie) eventually gets to the point where he’s able to forgive the young woman who falsely accused him. The movie “is about hope, courage and faith,” Mark Lindon commented. “If people leave the cinema and feel invigorated to go on then that will make me happy.”Have you ever been falsely accused? I have. Ever been unfairly imprisoned? I have not, although there are many Christians who’ve been imprisoned for their faith around the world today. Christ gives us very challenging teaching on what to do when we are falsely accused. Certainly, we can (and should) defend ourselves as Mark did, but we also need to learn how to forgive those who wrongfully condemn and mistreat us, as Mark also did. Apart from God’s supernatural grace, I don’t think anyone can actually forgive others, but God does tell us to forgive (for our own health too) and promises us grace if we’ll ask. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:36-38)