Recently, I was part of a discussion about when it might be appropriate to show the movie The Passion of the Christ, about Jesus’ crucifixion to children. What age? And how did they respond?
It has gotten me thinking. My initial response was this:
I am not old enough. It is not one I will show my children. If they choose to watch it later, that is fine but I will not be showing it to them.
Consider greatly their sensitivity and how long their mind holds onto difficult, violent, and gory details. If, in any way, they tend to hold these things, it may not be the right choice to show it to them.
These types of visuals do not make me more sensitive or appreciative of what Christ went through. They trouble me and give me nightmares and other issues so I choose to avoid them.
I bring this up because in our current world, it seems that we are constantly bombarded with visually stimulating materials. This may not be bad but that doesn’t make it good. In this particular case, let’s take a quick look at what we are given in the Bible.
Mark 15 is what I read this morning. It happened to come right along the day after the discussion on the movie occurred. Please, take a minute to read it. Here’s a link to it on the Blue Letter Bible site. Read it more than once. I did. Absorb it and think about what is shared.
Consider for a moment the descriptive language used by Mark. Yes, it shares plenty with us to see that Jesus was mistreated, beat, scourged. He was handed over to an entire garrison to be mistreated. He had a crown of thorns placed on His head. He was crucified. A brutal, cruel punishment He did not deserve.
But, again, look at the description of the violence He underwent for my sake. It is not highly detailed, yet it is effective. It is not gory. It is not designed and described in such a way that I have an ongoing movie of gore and violence in my head. It focuses instead on Jesus, on His agony, on His love, on His purpose.
To emphasize this, take a look at the same scenes in the other books of gospel – Matthew, Luke, and John. None of them include extremely graphic language yet focus instead on the act of love and sacrifice by my Lord for the purpose of salvation.
Why do we choose to stray from the way God presents this scene to us? Is it really easier for us to understand when we view a 2 hour movie of violence? Am I truly going to understand Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross any better just because it has been played out visually before me? No.
I ask you to consider also the purpose in the movie. For many years, the gospel was preached and shared without the assistance of movies. God gives us all we need in His word. Share that, rather than movies.
Yes, movies have their place in entertainment. But the story of Jesus on the cross is not entertainment.
**As a side note: Documentaries and movies are not the same thing. Documentaries seldom go to the extremes that movies do to “show” you what is going on. Documentaries are important and I do believe they can share a great deal of information and strengthen understanding.
Lori, At Home.