Sermon Illustrations

The Academy Award winning film, A Beautiful Mind tells the life story of John Forbes Nash. Nash was a brilliant mathematician attending Prinston University; on his way toward receiving world acclaim, he became involved in a mysterious conspiracy against the US. Nash worked to break Russian codes hidden within newspapers and magazines.

Unfortunately, this top secret work was not being done for the government in order to prevent a real threat. Nash was living out an imagined schizophrenic world made within his own mind. When Nash is hospitalized for his schizophrenia, his paranoia only increases. John is convinced that the Russians are trying to prevent him from discovering their secret messages. Only the love of his wife is able to help him hold on to reality.

Far worse than the death of a friend, John Nash slowly comes to realize that many of the people in his world never existed at all. Electric shock therapy and medication helped to control Nash’s delusions. However, his life is far from normal. Wanting to have a normal life he secretly stops taking his medication, but his schizophrenic world re-emerges. When his psychotic behavior is discovered, Nash again faces returning to the psychiatric hospital for treatment.

Nash tells his wife if he returned to the hospital that it would kill him; he believes that somehow he would be able to beat his disease. The doctors have told her that because John could not differentiate between what was real and only imagined that he would be a threat to himself and even to her. If Nash would not be willing to commit himself to the hospital then the doctors had prepared papers for his wife to have him committed.

With the support of his devoted wife John Nash is able to overcome his schizophrenia. Years later having beaten his disease, Nash is honored by his fellow professors at Prinston and is also awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. Who said dreams can’t come true?

John Forbes Nash and his wife let go of their painful past; they dared to dream again. Together they overcame the obstacles that would hold them back and worked to see their dreams become a reality.

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