Thursday, January 26, 2017

"He's not a monster"

I heard someone say it again. Well, of course he's not a monster; no one is an actual "monster". We are humans. Maybe we sometimes behave like monsters, but that is not the point (and, no, I am not merely picking on their word choice). Yet, saying he is not a monster is akin to saying "he's not a fried egg". We live in an age of muddy thinking, and that means that right and wrong are often skewed in people's minds. Hence, we have a situation where someone does something that everyone knows is evil and the "defense" is, "he's not a monster". In other words, "he's not as bad as some horrible, six legged, slimy, creature from a sci-fi movie".

How many times have I heard someone talk about a child that was in trouble with the law as "he's really a good kid". Just what does "good" mean in that context? It does not appear to mean the same as what I mean when I use that word. It may seem nit-picky to talk about the words that are used here, but it is not merely an issue of trying to get definitions straight. Rather, it is an issue of getting our thinking straight. How can we continue to compromise about morality so easily? I will venture to take an educated guess: we have been slipping for so long in our movies and music, I find it amazing that more people have not noticed it. Spend enough time making the edges of morality fuzzy, and you will eventually succeed in making people's minds fuzzy about morality.

It is a sad testimony to the moral fiber of our nation that most people get their ethical rules from what they see in movies and hear in music. The scariest thing about this is that those who are making movies and writing music are mostly not people who have much moral fiber. Think about this: actors are basically just professional liars, and musicians may have some talent (emphasis on "some"), but that does not mean that they have an education in philosophy, ethics or politics (obviously!). Are we really willing to trust these people to guide our lives? It is not as though they are anything really important in society--they are just entertainers after all.

It is Hollywood who has given us our understanding of "monsters", have they not? They have invented some pretty horrifying monsters for us on the screen (and I must admit I like science fiction monster stories). Yet, is that really our only point of comparison when it comes to wicked behavior? If someone is "not a monster" then that means that he is morally acceptable? Wow! Pretty low standards, eh?

Parents, you really can do better than merely keeping your children from being "monsters". No, not because raising godly children is a stress-free, effort-free, job; but, rather, because God promises to enable you to do so if  you will only put your hope and trust in Him to do so. Far too many parents give up on the grounds of letting children decide for themselves about what is right (which is actually encouraging them to fall into grave sin). Others will compromise and say that it is just too difficult. In one way that is true: it is too difficult to do it on our own (I know, I have tried it). The standard is high, and the strength to reach that standard is always available if we will only but use it. Let us call on God to help us do better than "not monsters".