A Theological Reflection on Park Min Young’s “Her Private Life”

This page does not intend to critic the movie nor give insights about it. This is purely theological reflection of a “fanboy. *Spoiler warning*

Synopsis of the movie:

Park Min Young, as Sung Deok Mi, is a curator in an Art Gallery Museum and secretly a successful fangirl of famous Korean popstar, Cha Shi An. She manages a prominent fanpage called “Cha Shi An My Life.” Shi An collects paintings of the mysterious Lee Sol.

It was in an auction where Deok Mi met Ryan Gold (Heo Yoon Jae), a renowned artist in New York. Ryan also collects Lee Sol’s painting for a more personal reason. He wants to recollect his memories related to Lee Sol. Ryan believes that collecting all of the paintings bear the answer to his identity.

Fast forward, Ryan Gold was offered to become the Director of Cheum Art Gallery, where Deok Mi works as curator. They were always in conflict with each other to the point where Ryan fired Deok Mi. Providentially, Deok Mi was able to return as the curator and worked well with Ryan to finish the 5th anniversary exhibit of the art gallery.

Deok Mi and Ryan agreed to pretend dating in order to avoid Cha Shi An’s issue. After pacifying the issue, they stopped pretending and started dating for real. It was during their joyful moments where adversities keep coming. The revelation of Lee Sol, Eun Gi (Deok Mi’s childhood friend) admitting of his feeling to Deok Mi, the mother of Deok Mi’s regrets, and Choi Da In’s love for Ryan.

Despite of the struggles, Ryan and Deok Mi hold their hands and faced all of these together. Also with the help of their friends, everything went gracefully. The series is full of hope, pain, trust, struggles, and love. It shows the reality of life. But what overflows in the story is about grace and forgiveness.

Ten (10) Theological Reflections

  1. Even compared to the most valuable piece of art, nothing is more valuable being alive. Insignificant it may be, but Deok Mi teaches us that being able to breathe and live are more important than finding our value on what we do or what we possess. Our value cannot simply be compared to an art expressed by human artist. We are actually more than that. Our creative Creator made us in His image, our identity is found in Him. We are not mere expression, but a bearer of our God’s image. Life is to be celebrated not just survive it.
  2. We need to see the bigger [or complete] picture in order to appreciate what we have now. The answer to Ryan’s life questions were found when they completed Lee Sol’s paintings. Many small things that we do seem worthless or do not matter at all. But on the pursuit of desiring to see the bigger picture motivates us to live accordingly. Envisioning the goal tends to make us ungrateful on the little steps we are doing. It is true that we desire the Kingdom of God as the culmination of everything. But because of Christ’s finished work, the Kingdom of God is also present in our days. Thus we need to cherish each day and be thankful about it without letting go on the clear picture of our telos or end goal with God, which is certain.
  3. Sometimes, the thing or person we most cherish is the source of our pain and struggles. Either you embrace and courageously accept it or let go and move forward. This was true to Ryan Gold when he learned who abandoned him. Yet the people we cherish can be our idols between yourself and God. The best manner is surrendering everything to Him and submitting to the Author of life. It will not be easy to accept things that caused us pain. Yet by God’s grace everything will be fine. Acknowledging your emotions and perceiving it on what Christ has done for His children will help you understand yourself and know what to do. Transforming this pain into something useful and valuable in your life towards compassion to God and others.
  4. Truth may hurt us but it liberates us to genuine reality. It was very hard for Deok Mi knowing about Heo Yoon Jae (Ryan Gold’s real identity) and Deok Soo (his younger brother who passed away). This breaks us into pieces trying to comprehend what is unfathomable at the moment. But we need to hear this truth in order to restore and put everything back into its places. Likewise in humanity. Truth reveals our genuine state, and convicts us to our sin. We need to hear the gospel in order to break us to the point of kneeling down crying for mercy to God. This kills us to our old nature but it brings us to life on our new nature. Truth is necessary to understand our former state to restore us to our original state with God.
  5. When truth takes place in your life, it progresses and illuminates your path. When Deok Mi and Yoon Jae knew the truth, they were able to live their life more genuinely, joyfully, and peacefully. It does not mean there will be no struggles in life. But your path is clearer because of God illuminating your way towards God’s will. Assurance in their relationship is stronger, same with our relationship with God. Their is comfort when truth rules over our heart.
  6. We need someone to share not just the joyful moments but also our pain. The series would not be successful with out the supporting characters who are always their for them. Friends, lovers, and family are always their ready to embrace you in times of suffering and celebrate with you in times of success. Do not isolate your life and dealing with it alone. As a redeemed person, you have your local church, home groups, and spiritual family who will genuinely be with you in your ups and downs of life. Willing to suffer and journey with you. Do not underestimate the purpose of a local church.
  7. Forgiveness is everywhere and always available. Learn to admit your mistakes, apologize [repent], and accept the offer. This is the overflowing picture of the series. Deok Mi forgiving her oppressors, Ryan Gold forgiving his mother who he thought abandoned her and he forgives Deok Mi’s mother who left her in an orphanage. There is a lot more of forgiving instances in the movie. This foreshadows the availability of forgiveness of the one and true model of it, God. God is always ready to forgive. He even initiated this forgiveness by sending His Son Jesus Christ to humanity in order to reconcile us to Himself. We can always admit our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and accept His gracious act. Rest assure that He forgives. He is waiting for you.
  8. Providentially, all the events of life are necessary to cultivate your character. We are who we are right now because of what we have experienced. It is not good to compare your life with others. Your life is unique and wonderful. God is always at work in our lives and carefully weaving the masterpiece to our life story. The culmination of this masterpiece is when we have heard the truth and believed the truth in order to see our life with bright colors of threads. God paints us with different shades and unique manners. He then knits us together to make bigger and more amazing work of art.
  9. Truth overcomes your painful past. The shackles of past no longer hinder you in the light of the present. It is important to be aware of our past because it shaped us. But it is not wise to cling on the past forever. It will hinder your growth. It produces melancholy, shame, and guilt. The cure for this is the indwelling truth in your life. Letting the truth govern your life, submitting to its authority, and desiring more of intimacy will keep you in motion with your life. When you have accepted the truth in your life, it breaks the chains on yourself. Exercising this truth, pray and meditate on His words, will make you live more peacefully, joyfully, and you will find value in yourself.
  10. Faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is LOVE. The overarching frame of the series is love. Besides it is a rom-com. The movie is filled of different degrees and kinds of love. Love for passion (being a fangirl, and artist), mother’s unconditional love despite of all the struggles, and even a friends’ love who is always there to be with you. But the two-way romantic love of Ryan Gold (Heo Yoon Jae) and Sung Deok Mi is somewhat ideal yet realistic. This sets a model and standard to what we long for. Being there on each other’s side and even the idea of knowing more about the person you cherish. This is what many neglected in their love. The continuous commitment of knowing each other.

    The scene in episode 11, where Deok Mi told Ryan Gold about one of Lee Sol’s painting that was not taken care of, captures this commitment. Deok Mi said, “Let us not end up like those paintings, that were discarded because of its severe damage, [instead] we will gaze at, adore, and take interest in each other.”

In conclusion, despite how severely damage we are, corrupted and depraved, there is hope for us because there will be someone who can restore this piece of art. For us humanity, it is our Creator who can always restore us. He is very much willing to restore and reconcile this relationship that was broken between God and humanity. In fact, God already announced this Good News of redemptive plan and His desire to restore us all because of His great love. This love manifested and personified in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ willingly came to our world, lived, suffered, and died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sin (since sin made us severely damage and corrupted). He rose again after three days because He himself is life. All we need is to understand and experience this redeeming power of God. Christ it the only living hope for you and me.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Published by JP Arceno

A Mere Christian, no other religion, but Christian church, call me a Catholic Christian ~ Richard Baxter

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