Movie Mayhem


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Bible Reading: Genesis 9:1, 5-6

And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” Genesis 9:5-6, NIV

TWO VERY DIFFERENT movies. Similar responses.

The movie Schindler’s List, the story of a German man’s efforts to redeem people from concentration camps during World War II, was shown in a high school. At one point in the movie, the commandant of the concentration camp walks onto a veranda with a rifle. For a moment he smokes his cigarette and watches the prisoners as they go about their forced labor. Then he raises the scope of the gun to his eye and spies a prisoner who had knelt to tie his shoe. The commandant squeezes the trigger, killing the woman. While the other prisoners quicken the pace of their activities in fear that they will be the next victim, the commandant continues his sport, shooting human beings like ducks in a shooting gallery. As this scene took place, the high school students watching the movie started to laugh.

Some time later, in a theater several thousand miles away, an updated version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was on the screen. Romeo, who has fallen in love with young Juliet, sees one of his friends murdered by Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt. Blinded by rage, Romeo chases Tybalt and-though he (and the whole audience) knows that this act must certainly doom the romance between him and Juliet-he guns down his friend’s murderer. In the midst of what was intended to be a tragic scene, five or six teens in the theater laughed, clapped, and cheered Romeo’s act.

How would you have responded if you had been in one of those theaters? Would you have laughed? Would you have cheered? Such scenes ought to make you hurt and cry. They are tragic because they portray the loss-the taking-of God’s most precious gift: human life.

Whatever the reason for the reactions of the young people in these two instances, one thing seems to be obvious. Watching movies and television shows where violence and death occur every day has caused some people to view life and death as entertainment.

Every human life is precious: that of the elderly Alzheimer’s victim no less than that of the handsome movie star; that of the prison inmate no less than that of the smiling child walking to her first day of kindergarten; that of the unborn no less than that of the newborn. God calls human life “good,” and he has commanded us to value life, to preserve it, and to honor it.

REFLECT: What do you think of the way the young people responded to Schindler’s List and Romeo and Juliet? Why do you feel that way? How do you show whether or not you value human life? How do you preserve it (or encourage its preservation)?

PRAY: “Lord, help me to feel about life the way you do and to respond to death as you do, especially when_________.”


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