By Jeff Foerster
Are you more in love with life, or with death?
An odd question. Yes, it must be odd. If not, then requiring a second look. Are you aware of all the death surrounding us?
Prime time dramas featuring corpses and gore, “reporting” shows detailing serial killers and victims of various violent crimes, and movies containing dozens of violent deaths are regularly offered up. We are fascinated by “bones” and “criminal minds” and bringing vengeance upon men named “Bill.” The public has become captivated by vampires and zombies alike. So mainstream has this become that zombies have left the horror film genre and ventured into video games, documentaries, comedies, and even romances (yes, you read that right).
For those of you feeling “safe” from my description thus far, consider the UFC sporting events, hockey games, or any sampling of the nightly “news.” We are saturated; violence is a way of life here. So what?
Before you think that I am here to claim a moral high ground and spit words toward the wanton masses below, I need say that I first write for my own instruction on this matter, then pray that you may benefit as well. I am also not presupposing I know the detail of what you should feed your mind and heart upon (other than the Bible). I do not have a list of dos and don’ts for you to follow. My desire is for your careful consideration of how we live and the consequences of doing so.
That said, I believe there is a numbing quality to acts of violence, like so much novocaine before a dental procedure. The first injection assaults the senses with a sharp pain in the flesh. The second exposure is unpleasant, but with somewhat less perceptible injury. After just a few minutes the application of any further doses can be endured or even ignored, as previous exposures have numbed most feeling away. So too does living with regular doses of violence dull any remaining sensitivity.
This frequent exposure to violence and death does more than serve to generally numb us; it can make us complacent toward evil. Another murder, another death, another blow to the head. Each subsequent violation means less and less.
What are we doing?! What does a believer in the Lord of life have in common with all this death? Is it entertaining to watch vampire lore mock the sacrificial blood of our Savior? What do I gain from watching one athlete beat another man, who bears the image of the immortal God, until he can no longer stand? Is it amusing to see “zombies”—those alive in body, yet dead in spirit (sound familiar?—Ephesians 2:1-3) slaughtered in so many creative ways?
This violence, however, is yet an accomplice to a greater crime. I fear for myself, for you and me alike. I fear that I might be blunting my passion for the things that God has a passion for. I hope and pray that this possibility causes real fear within you, fear that leads you to flee from what numbs your heart into complacency and hopelessness. Fear that drives you to the pure Word of the God who has no equal. His word has power, power to deliver from death unto life eternal.
Our God and Father, “even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). Do you have within you a strong desire to see those lost in your family, in your neighborhood, and at your workplace come to a saving relationship with Jesus? In a dying generation, we have the words of life!
Many things I don’t know, but I do know this: when nightly “news” recounts neighborhood death tolls and when viewing rotting corpses and severed appendages turns from being repugnant to mere background noise in entertainment, our acceptance of something that we as believers in the Lord of life should flee gains strength and diminishes our passion to see the lost snatched from the jaws of death and the fires of hell (Jude 23). Instead, “I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil” (Romans 16:19) so that you “may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).