It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to realize if you’re going to fill your minds with bad stuff, you’re more likely to become bad yourself. A recent example of this was when a 17-year old boy planned a massacre at his high school in Minnesota. Thank God his plans were thwarted by a woman who didn’t ignore her gut feeling that this kid was up to no good. But why would a young man plan to murder his family, and then go and murder more innocent people? Unfortunately, this is a question we’ve all had to wrestle with a lot in the past few years, since mass killing of innocent people has become all too common.
CNN reported that on his Facebook page, John David LaDue is partial to the dark side. He “likes” assault rifles, he preferred predominantly heavy metal, and his taste in movies is dominated by blood, gore, and combat. His favorite authors write on genres of the macabre, like Stephen King and a “more traditional master of literary darkness,” Edgar Allen Poe.
So, does this mean that all people who like these things and read these books will attempt mass murder? Of course not! But these things LaDue fed his thought life day-in and day-out, month after month, year after year, had to take its toll. For this kid, the toll trigged sociopathic behavior. Would this behavior have been triggered without all this exposure to weapons, gore and violence? Maybe we will never know entirely, but my “gut feeling” is perhaps not.
One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Philippians 4:8 which says, “ Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.”
Whatever is TRUE. What is true? In American culture, too many people simply don’t know. They’re taught that truth cannot be defined, and it’s up to the individual to make their “own truth,” so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, right? LaDue didn’t get that last part.
Whatever is NOBLE. What is noble? This is honorable, righteous, decent and reputable behavior. We don’t see a lot of examples of nobility in our modern culture, but when we do, it’s usually celebrated! Courageous service men and women, medical professionals saving lives, someone rescuing another out of harm’s way, etc. These stories make headlines because they are simply just too rare.
What is RIGHT. What is right? No one seems to have those answers anymore, but thank goodness, at least we have laws. If you break them and get caught, you’ll get into trouble.
What is PURE. Purity? Ha! That’s not even celebrated today. If you remain pure, you’re considered a fool. Who’s pure anymore? With the likes of Miley Cyrus showing her twerking and tongue abilities to millions of impressionable girls, purity is certainly not valued. With porn pilfering the internet, sexual practices are anything but pure anymore.
The verse goes on to say we should think about the lovely, the admirable, the excellent and praiseworthy. How those terms are defined today, versus how they were defined in Paul’s time, are probably quite different. I’m sure Paul meant we need to fill our minds with Godly things, thoughts about heaven, Jesus, His Holiness, His righteousness, who we are in His eyes, and who we need to be while we’re on earth.
To the young people today who have never been shown these things, who don’t even believe there is a God in heaven who loves them and has made a way to restore a relationship with Him, I can only hope that those of us who do know the truth and have an active relationship with God, can express to you that life is so much better than what you’re being fed through the lies of entertainment cloaked in violence, the clicker-culture of the internet age full of distractions and deceptions, and the disappointments of those who are supposed to love you, but didn’t show you the way.
There is a better way, a better life and a love the transcends your circumstances. His name is Jesus Christ, and His ways are not of this world.