Once there was a murderer who was the best in his trade. He was so twistedly good at what he did, and enjoyed bringing death more than any could understand. Not only did he exist to bring death, he enjoyed playing with his victims…convincing them they were safe while he employed his trade. Also, he wasn’t content to simply kill. His true pleasure came in consuming the flesh of his victims. Sometimes all at once, but often bit by bit, over a long period of time, until there was nothing left but the bones laying on the floor in a room more silent than a winter chill.
But there was a problem. People had heard of what he had done in the past. They knew his face.
They didn’t trust him, and ran whenever they saw him approaching.
So he became creative. He found 7 others who were just as twisted as he, and sometimes even helped twist those who were open to being befriended. Friends who would move with his movements, and speak with his words. Who would find out what he wanted to accomplish, and set out on his behalf. Not many people knew their identities, and many who did found so much pleasure in their company, they quieted any desire to sound the alarm.
But one day, killing through his accomplices ceased to quench his desire to bring death. His hunger for consuming the living grew to a point where he was unable to suppress it any longer. But surely he would be unable to approach anyone, right? After all, they still knew his face. They still knew his name. They avoided him at all costs. They prayed for protection from him. But being full of pride, he was not easily discouraged. He decided to reach for the stars, offering himself as a guest in their homes. He moved on quickly, not expecting any response.
But the responses came.
“COME!!” “Come on over!!” “We’ll come pick you up!!” He smiled, and even laughed deep inside himself. These were the people so aware of him??? These were the same people he’d been cast out from among over and over again….and didn’t know if he’d ever again taste. He looked at himself in the mirror one more time….adjusted his collar…and smiled as he set out on a familiar path…
A silly story, yes? Fiction….horribly written and imagined….right? Except for the fact that there’s so much truth in it. We and our families/homes are being consumed by things like anger, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. When we recognize these in our homes and lives….we should confront them in the name of Jesus. Allow our lives to be transformed, made new, and freed from their presence.
Instead, often the opposite happens.
Certainly, we usually leave these things at home while we head to church for a couple hours each week. But I was reminded recently by the box office success of a film like “The Conjuring”, not to mention shows like “Ghost Hunters”, or any of several other shows these days. We enjoy poking sticks into the cages of the realms of spiritual evil we believe Christ came to declare Lordship over and our freedom from. It shouldn’t be surprising when we get bit. (Eph 4:27)
Standing in life-giving contrast, we re-member Jesus. Not threatening to consume, but rather offering His own flesh and blood, and saying “Take, and eat…” Asking if we’re hungry, and offering a banquet.
“Why would you go watch ________?” Ask the question, and you’ll most likely get the answer, “because it’s scary/freaky!” said with a smile. I can understand when the movie is about aliens, or even someone who’s pretty messed up. These are things we are able to safely close our doors and lock them against, or realize they aren’t real (or aren’t coming to our planet because they’re allergic to water).
But to be entertained by the feeling you get when we watch a movie about demonic forces because you believe those forces exist? To play a game that opens a door to a spiritual realm Jesus has died to keep us freed from? If you didn’t realize that was not a good thing…..this is my polite way of saying….it’s not a good thing. It’s true….inviting a cannibalistic serial killer into your home/mind/heart may not result in you being killed and eaten. But I’m guessing most of us still wouldn’t unlock the door in that scenario.
And no, not because I think you’ll be possessed, or have sharp objects flying around your room or see demonic hands clapping out of cabinets. Those are obvious ways for evil to be discovered/dealt with. But rather, I believe the forces I’m talking about here would much rather be manifested in quiet, undetected slowly-building ways of broken relationships, bad decisions, and loneliness.
Instead, may this week find you feasting on Christ…(and go see Despicable Me 2 if you really need a flick)