It is strange how I sometimes receive a life lesson through Spirit. Usually it is some random thought having occurred to me that is later hammered home through strong emotion. And such was my revelation on the presence of evil in my life and my role in promoting it.
I have been a fan of “Action” movies, the kind where the storyline portrays a crime of greed that results in fantastical car chases, superhuman feats and killing sprees. Over the last several years my interest in this genre of movies has waned and I have been more inclined to watch movies that champion the human spirit. But when The Expendables came out with its multi cast of action heroes I wanted to see it. Life as it often does kept me sidetracked and it wasn’t until The Expendables 2 was released that I found the opportunity to watch this movie. With the DVD in the player, I settled into my comfy chair prepared for an extravaganza of action and star power.
Before long the first “shoot ‘em up” occurred and as I watched I felt uncomfortable. My thoughts transcended the storyline and focused on violence and the awareness that evil is too evident in our lives. I thought about how we (society as a whole) have somehow collectively created an environment where angry young men kill school children and violently take the lives of others in movie theaters, in shopping malls and on college campuses. We have forged a social environment where violence in movies, in video games and on the news has become part of our preferred entertainment. I thought how we can become self-indulged and overly zealous in our pursuit of everything that satisfies “me” with little to no regard for the consequences that result. And why would this not be expected? We have for centuries hated and harmed others because they are of a different race, a different culture, of a different mindset than us and because they don’t serve our version of God.
I became aware of how evil takes root in my life with each selfish act that I take. The next act becomes easier, the root grows deeper and within time I can be deeply engrossed in self-deception and willing nurturing evil as it spreads like a cancer across the body of humanity. I think about how easy it has been at times to transgress my moral code and spiritual righteousness choosing instead to feed society’s penchants toward racism, hatred, violence, greed, pride, jealousy and selfishness. To satisfy my own pleasure I can indulge my vanities while ignoring the subtle voice within warning of injustice and rationalize my choices to satisfy my own desires. In my past I have often chosen to ignore the devil inside and instead blamed all my iniquities on a evil being outside of myself. In time I realized that too often the distress that I have caused and attracted has been my choice, and I began trying to make better decisions in how I chose to live my life.
But until this moment I had not realized that something as simple as purchasing a violent movie has the effect of rippling more malice out into the world. Because I have just profited someone’s greed, and the want of more, new violent movies are in production. And so are video games and television programming that attracts advertisers soliciting sales and profits. I purchased one violent movie thinking that it has no impact, and then realized that it is likely that someone had purchased a gun and acted out the violent scenes he has played in a video game or watched in a movie. The news has broadcasted these crimes with an appealing story tag, like “Massacre in the Mall” and before long, someone else may feel the desire to claim a moment of fame or self-justification through a violent act.
I powered off the DVD player. In the overall scope of life it will not make a difference and perhaps it is just a silly gesture. I may never watch another action movie, and not just because I think it has potential to harm our society, but because I have been reminded that my spiritual health is affected by the choices that I make. That there is an evil within that can invade every thought that I have and impact every action that I take. The choice is mine. I can choose to gratify the darker part of my soul, or I can embrace the light.