Recently, I found an article on the CNN website regarding a new kind of phenomenon on the internet. Actually, it's not new, but it's newly becoming public. For some time now, there have been websites you could visit where you can watch actual videos of people being murdered. These have been considered to be in the deep, dark parts of the internet. Recently, however, some of these videos have begun making their way out into the public eye.
The one prime example is that of the recent murder and dismemberment of a chinese student in Montreal by a former porn actor. The man stabbed his victim to death and then proceeded to cut him into pieces, even later mailing parts of the victim to government offices and schools across the country. And no, I have not seen the video.
I had to ask myself, why would somebody videotape themselves murdering someone? And then why would they share it online? Let me suggest there are probably two reasons. First, there is a pride in sin and second, there is a deep desire to participate in sin.
What do I mean by these? Well, let's consider first the pride matter. I think this is just in line with what we are seeing in many parts of our culture today. Take, for example, the matter of homosexuality. This lifestyle, which was once considered shameful by our entire society, is now not only acceptable but promoted. You can take in an annual "gay pride parade" in quite a number of Canadian cities. These parades are examples of debased human morality where men and women (mostly men) walk around naked and show off their pride in their sinful lifestyle. We all have a conscience that knows this is wrong but many people have sadly ignored that conscience so long that they no longer find themselves ashamed of their actions and feel free to promote their sin to the world. I think the matter of these murder videos is somewhat similar. The murderer is filled with satisfaction in his crime and wants to share it with the world. Especially when there are people that are eager to watch! Romans 1:32 speaks about this: "Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Both those who commit the crime and those who approve of them (by watching their videos) are guilty in the sight of God.
And that leads us to the second reason; people have a desire to see these things take place that they, at their present place in life, are not able to or willing to take part in. Consider, for a moment, the subject of pornography. Let's face it; every one of us is a sexual being with sexual desires. However, because of a good upbringing, or because of convictions based on the Bible, many choose to control those desires and give place to them only in a proper marriage relationship. But this is not so for everyone. Many people would love to be involved in illicit sexual acts but are afraid to perform them themselves. So they watch videos of others performing them instead. (Of course, some are involved in them and also continue to indulge in pornography to satisfy the desires when they cannot be involved in an act at the very moment.)
The problem is that viewing pornography and other such videos or photos reflects an inner, deeper desire. Consider these verses, spoken by the Lord Jesus:
Luke 6:45, "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
Matthew 15:18-20a, "But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.”
Matthew 5:28, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
The heart is the source of our desires and the motivator of our actions. The things we do and say outwardly reflect the things we feel and believe inwardly. In debating with the Pharisees, who believed that drinking from a dirty cup defiled a person, Jesus explained that it is not things from the outside that defile a person but the things on the inside that defile them and which eventually surface for all to see.
The problem with pornography is that it makes us guilty of adultery with those we are watching. The Lord explains that the reason we commit such sins of the mind and of the eyes is because the desire to commit such sin in actual deed exists in our hearts. That's a hard pill to swallow. If you love pornography, it's because there is a desire in you to perform those deeds in your body, whether you acknowledge so or not.
Now apply those principles to this new matter of murder videos and you end up with a scary image of your own heart. The reason people enjoy watching such videos is that it gives them a rush of satisfaction in their hearts and minds. It pleases their senses because it is an act that they would, in the deepest, darkest parts of their heart, like to commit. For whatever reason, taking the life of a person is quite satisfying to some people and these murder videos are a way to satisfy that desire in the privacy of your own home.
This makes me think of another problem. There was a day when homosexuality, adultery and fornication were crimes carrying legal repercussions. But because the hearts of men were slowly hardened toward these sins by their secret practice of them behind closed doors, our culture became overrun by those who practiced them. Little by little, those same people have taken places of leadership at various levels of our governments, making it easier for them to change our laws and legalize such actions. So here's a scary thought; if murder is beginning to follow the same pattern of taking place behind closed doors and receiving the approval of others outside, what happens when some of these secret killers begin to take office in our governments? Will murder become legal? Before you rule out that possibility altogether, let me turn your mind to the matter of abortion, which is entirely legal in Canada. Let me call you your attention the matter of post-birth abortions being proposed by some, which would allow for the killing of a young baby after birth (though nobody seems to be taking it seriously yet). Let me point out that the matter of euthanasia, though currently illegal, is still up for debate and may yet become legal. Let me also remind you that there also have been cultures throughout the centuries, and some continue today, where murder is culturally acceptable in certain situations.
As scary as it sounds, I believe it's only a matter of time before this happens. Not convinced? Consider Matthew 24:9, where the Lord tells His disciples that there will come a day, one still in the future, when Christians will be persecuted to the death. The Bible also tells us that men's love will grow cold and they will become more brutal and violent than before (Matthew 24:12, 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Where else can this lead?
For the Christian, this matter of murder videos should be a no-brainer. They should be regarded at least as bad as, or worse, than pornography. Believers should have nothing to do with them (1 Thessalonians 5:22). If we are to be holy as our Father expects, we should take no pleasure in sin (Leviticus 11:44,45, Psalm 5:4).
- Pastor Mike
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