Greater Love has No One Than This …
In the movie, Pennywise knows what scares kids. He appears to the germ-averse Eddie as a leper. Fast-talking, coulrophobic Richie sees him as a clown. Stan, the sensitive son of a rabbi, has been terrified of painting most of his childhood—a bit of modern art depicting a twisted, flute-playing woman. Pennywise makes the painting come to horrifying life.
And to Bill—de facto leader of a band of misfit children who call themselves the Losers’ Club—Pennywise appears as Georgie, Bill’s little, lost brother.
Bill wants to rid Derry of Pennywise forever. He wants to banish this all-too-tangible creature of fear. But how?
2 Timothy 1:7 gives us a hint: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Bill is the first to master his self-control. When he and his friends stand in front of a creepy old house under the dominion of Pennywise, Bill tells them that he, for one, must confront the evil inside and find out what happened to his brother.
“Walking into this house for me is easier than walking into my own,” he says.
Others follow Bill in, albeit still pretty terrified. (And, frankly, they should be.) But Bill continually encourages them to go forward. “It’s not real,” Bill repeatedly tells them, even though the consequences can be all-too real.
Still they go on—through the house and, eventually, into the sewer itself, to confront Pennywise on his home turf. They come to realize that they can fight it—and that their power comes from love and togetherness.
“It wants to divide us,” Bill says. “We were all together when we hurt it. That’s why we’re still alive.”
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear,” 1 John 4:18 says.
Now, of course, IT strays from a purely biblical narrative in some significant ways. God’s the ultimate source of our confidence, and why we should go forth without fear.
But the Losers’ Club shared love and companionship for each other—and the power that results—has some biblical underpinnings, as well.
“Let us love one another, for love is from God,” we read in 1 John 4:7. Later in that same chapter, we read that “We love because He first loved us.” Bill might not namecheck God, but the sacrificial love he feels for his fellow Losers? It comes from the Almighty.
As we watch Bill, Beverly and the rest track Pennywise in its frightening sewers—as we understand the odds stacked against them and see Pennywise conspire to split them up and pick them off, one by one—I’m reminded of another verse: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”