Is America Violent & Alienated From God Like Jean Valjean In Les Misérables?

Les Misérables, the new movie musical staring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried, beautifully brings Victor Hugo’s 1862 French novel to life.  However, it made me wonder:  Is America violent and alienated from God like the main character, Jean Valjean, in prison?


While still a boy, Jean Valjean stole some bread to feed a hungry child.  He was arrested and sent to a cruel prison for 19 years.  The constant exposure to scenes of violence, meanness, anger, and immorality hardened Jean’s conscience and changed him from an innocent boy to an evil man.

Perhaps that same process is happening in America as we are also being continually exposed to violence and immorality.  Maybe the root of our problems is the same as Jean Valjean’s.

When John is finally shown kindness, he steals silver from the man who helps him.  However, the man shows Jean the love of Christ, by not only forgiving him, but by giving him even more silver.  This act of love awakens Jean to the reality of God’s love and begins to free Jean from his years of immoral brainwashing and to transform him from an evil man to a godly man.

Les Misérables is the classic account of spiritual conversion — from Augustine in the 4th Century, to John Wesley in the 18th Century, to C.S. Lewis in the 20th Century.  It vividly portrays the power of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ to change lives — a message of hope that the 21st Century desperately needs to hear and heed.

Les Misérables, whether I read it or watch one of the movies based on it, always brings me to tears.  It always reminds me and brings to life my own experience of being transformed by Jesus Christ.

Here’s a quote from Victor Hugo:  “Jean Valjean entered the galleys sobbing and trembling; he left hardened. He entered in despair; he left sullen. What had happened within the soul?”

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @
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5 Responses to Is America Violent & Alienated From God Like Jean Valjean In Les Misérables?

  1. I appreciate your insight and perspective on this subject! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: Are You Asking “Why?” | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

  3. Pingback: Fly The Flag! Rally ‘Round The Flag! (Like In Les Misérables) | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

  4. Pingback: Abraham, Martin, And Barack’s Oath On A Stack Of Bibles | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

  5. Pingback: “There is something evil in our society . . .” –a Washington DC doctor. | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

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