Monday, March 26, 2012

Good, Evil, or Goevilod?

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14
The most basic of Biblical truths should be understood by nearly every person who calls themselves a follower of Christ. However, many who follow Christ have not been seeking maturity in their relationship with Christ. Nor have the majority been seeking a sanctified life, that is, a life that is becoming more like Christ and less like the world. This has come to light for me recently as I have stated reasons why I think that The Hunger Games movie is very problematic for the Christian family.

It doesn't really matter what my opinion is, or what someone else's opinion is, or what Doctor So & So says - there is only one objective standard in life, and that is God's Standard - nothing else stands completely outside of human experience. Only God's standard is the yardstick against all other thoughts, beliefs, and practices, and only the Bible will endure the test of time as an eternal rock of unchangeable truth. Of course worldly people will mock it, scorn it, or whatever, but those words will all be judged eventually, and God will win the argument.

The problem is that Christians are the ones who are confused, and perhaps that is for two reasons:
  1. Many (most?) Christians have not trained themselves by the constant use (study) of the Scriptures to be able to distinguish good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14).
  2. We have been so amalgamated into worldly ways of thinking that we simply don't know anymore what is good and what is evil, and even deeper, why something is good or evil.
For example, three Bible principles dominate my thinking about not supporting financially The Hunger Games movie in any way:
  1. The Sixth Commandment - Don't murder - Exodus 20:13
  2. The non-partnership with sin principle :
    Proverbs 1:10-19 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood.
    Ephesians 5:5-7 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
  3. The set your minds on right things principle:
    Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

So, applying these three commands or principles, it seems to me that obeying God's Word in every aspect of life would mean that I should limit myself in movie watching to movies that would honor God's principles. I have to first remove the log from my own eye and admit that I have not always done this. I have watched movies and television that were most ungodly and unwise.

However, as a father & husband, I have the hearts and minds of my wife and children to protect, so I am projecting my limitations on them, using the authority that God's Word gives me as a father. Someone might challenge me about The Hunger Games movie, "you haven't even see it, so how can you be so against it?"

First of all, the internet provides unending resources to discover what the content of a movie is, including the Internet Movie Database, which contains a parents guide for most movies that simply presents the uninterpreted facts of the content. Through that source and other research I have done, I have learned that the visual elements of the movie contain kids killing kids. Kids killing kids is not a visual element I want stuck in the heart and mind of my children, (or even myself) because of the Biblical principles described above.

I am against the movie (not necessarily the book, because a story can be handled much differently in a book) because demonstrating in a movie kids killing kids is something that, in my opinion, just simply should not be seen on film.

Look, I understand the plot of the movie. I know that it does not specifically condone or celebrate the killings. I get it. I have heard the point, "but that (the killing) is not the message of the film." Granted.

But here's the point - we have confused good and evil. Aren't we, by paying to see the movie, doing what the movie says is so wrong? Aren't we the Capitol? One of the characters in the book states that that the hunger games would not exist if people stopped watching. Why do we need a movie to show visually that kids killing kids is wrong? We have God's Word to tell us what is evil. Even if this movie has a great story and some heroics, it is a fact that one of the visual elements throughout the film is that kids are killing kids. Even if it is not the only visual element, even if it is on the sideline - to me, that is simply unacceptable.

There are lots of movies I shouldn't see and no one else should either. I certainly am not going to let my kids see them. Some movies are just plainly a waste of time, but others have definite, unredeemable content.

Let's look at the extremes. I have not seen any pornographic movies, but I certainly don't need to see them to know that I don't want my children or anyone else to see them. I don't need to see them to say that they are horrible and ungodly. Unfortunately, I know enough of their content to make a wise decision. Pornography is unredeemable. Horror movies are unredeemable. Sexual comedies are unredeemable. A follower of Christ should never see them. The Bible gives us commands and principles that we should use to judge every question of life, including which movies we see or don't see.

In my humble opinion, The Hunger Games movie is unredeemable because it contains kids killing kids. I am basing that opinion on the above mentioned Biblical principles. In essence, by saying this a "good" movie, we are calling what is evil "good."

It seems to me that we should look at God's Word to tell us what is good and what is evil. That is the only standard that matters. We can start with the Ten Commandments - a partial list of what God would call evil. There are other "lists" in the Bible, such as Proverbs 6:16-19

16There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Ok, I would imagine that everyone knows that. But the Bible also contains principles about the nature of good and evil, how it is to be defined, the results of both, and what we are supposed to do with both good and evil. Let's go beyond these "lists" and get into the heart of good and evil.

Evil is to be called evil and not good, according to God's standard:
Isaiah 5:20-21 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
Malachi 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

Doing Good according to God's standard brings blessings, doing evil according to God's standard brings curses and judgment:
John 5:28-29 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

Even God's "own people" who do evil are fools who don't know how to do good:
Jeremiah 4:22 “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.”

God lovers are to hate evil and love what is good:

Amos 5:14-15 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. 15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Good and evil come from the heart, not just actions or words on the surface:

Matthew 12:34-36 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Humans are utterly evil - slaves to sin, and can only be made "good" by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross:

Romans 7:21-25 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

The follower of Christ is commanded to be wise about what is good, and innocent of evil:

Romans 16:19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

The follower of Christ is commanded to turn from evil and do good:
1 Peter 3:10-11 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.

Here's the bottom line: confusing good and evil has grave consequences.

God, would you blow away our confusion and help your people to stand on your Word alone?

Sola Scriptura


1 comment:

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