Story Details

Wilson: Mercy, forgiveness in the movies and the gospel

forgiveness on Miscellaneous - Have you seen the new version of "Les Misérables?"

I have not, but I know the story. It follows several people in early 19th century France, including a man named Jean Valjean. Valjean is 25 years old when the story begins and is living with his sister and her seven children. He is a hard worker, willing to work virtually any job in order to provide for his sister and her children.

A severe winter makes work unavailable so Valjean is not able to buy food. In the middle of a cold night, Valjean leaves the house, goes to the local bakery, breaks the window and steals a loaf of bread.

He's caught and sentenced to five years in prison working hard labor in a rock quarry. Several times, he attempts but fails to escape; with each failure, years are added to his sentence. He spends 19 years in prison.

At age 44 he is released; however, he soon realizes that as long as he carries an "ex-convict" label around, he is not truly free. The only place he can find to spend a night is at the house of the local bishop.

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