I am Jean Valjean (and So Are You)

I am Jean Valjean, and so are you.

On Christmas Day our whole family went to see Les Mis. For me, the most powerful and striking scene (amongst many) was toward the beginning after Jean Valjean is released from prison. He had been serving years of hard time for stealing a loaf of bread. He can’t get anyone to take him in or give him a job. Finally, a priest takes him in. Valjean looks awful. He’s dirty, unkempt, tired, and so hungry that he eats his food like an animal. The nuns watch in horror. At just about that time the priest calls him an “honored guest.”

Grace 2

At that moment I realized that I am Jean Valjean. I saw myself dirty, unkempt, tired, and hungry…completely needy. In the eyes of the Master that is what I am. And not just me, but every human being. None of us deserve to be taken in.

I am Jean Valjean hanging my head in shame knowing that I do not even deserve to eat the crumbs from my Master’s table. But when I sit at the table I gorge myself like there will be no next meal. I need the food that He provides. I need it so badly that when I sit at the table I cannot get enough.

And then, like Valjean, I take for granted what my Master gives and try to steal more. As if He hadn’t already given me everything I need and more I abscond with what I don’t deserve.

Then, like the priest in Les Mis, my Master gives me everything I don’t deserve…and even more. 

I am Jean Valjean, a sinner of my own making, in need of a gracious Master. He has found me. Rescued me. Fed me. Forgiven me. And given me a purpose for living.

I am Jean Valjean. 

And so are you.

Come to my Master’s Table. He will welcome you.

Without question. Without cost. Completely undeserved.

With full grace and forgiveness.

I will always be His honored guest. 

And so will you.


What literary or movie character reminds you most of God’s great grace?

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5 thoughts on “I am Jean Valjean (and So Are You)

  1. That is simply outstanding. I tend to spiritualize all movies, and this was no exception. Beautiful analogy! During the song "Red and Black" I was mentally rewriting the lyrics to "red, the color of His blood…black, the color of our sin". Loved the movie…and thanks for sharing!