Back when I was young, there was a TV show called Friday Night Chiller Theater. As my family had never owned a television, I only know this because my grandmother had one, and sometimes, the relatives would watch this program together. My parents were wise and always sent us to bed. But, being a kid, I always wondered what was so special about this particular program (sort of like Eve and the forbidden fruit). There is a point to my remembrance, so please be patient as I set the stage for you.
My grandparents lived in the country, out in the midst of nowhere. There were no neighbors close by, as they were surrounded by fields. At night, there was only one tall streetlight affixed to the telephone pole in their yard. But, that light wasn’t visible from the very creepy-like attic where we kids had to sleep. To reach the attic, you had to climb about 12 very creaky, skinny steps. There were two rooms upstairs; we kids slept in one and my parents would sleep in the other. Next to their room was “the attic.” I never got to see what was inside of it. All I knew was, it was an attic. A creepy, dark place that we weren’t allowed to enter. There were no nightlights, just the light of the moon showing through the window.
One particular night, I decided to quietly slide the creaky stairs and peek around the corner in order to see what the family members were watching. This was quite a feat, because my little sister was asleep and I had to work to not awaken her, as well as avoid the most creaky places so that the adults wouldn’t know I was descending. I managed to do it, not realizing that I was about to view the ‘end’ the movie’s climax and, thus, the scariest part of the entire show.
What I saw scared me absolutely spitless. Mind you, it was the mid-70’s, so the drama wasn’t even close to what filmmakers create nowadays, and if you could see it, I am convinced you would laugh at me. But, I was 10, and had never viewed anything scary in my life. I am surmising the potential plot as five-to-ten minutes doesn’t offer a lot of information, but it appeared to be focused around a man that was trying to kill his wife without her understanding who he was in real life. At least, that’s what it seemed to be. Why else would a man dress up in a creepy costume, wear white powdered makeup, and slink around the house at night with a big butcher knife? I can still hear her scream as she realized who he was and that he intended to end her life. I was horrified and scared, but riveted to my spot behind the door. Long story short, he ended up dying instead of her, but the damage was done. My eyes had seen it, and to this day, my memory can still relive that scene. I could still hear the screams long after I climbed back up those creaky stairs into the creepy attic, laying in my bed with heart pounding nearly out of my chest from fright. I laid in bed for hours, scared out of my mind. Back then, I hadn’t really grasped the concept of prayer, so I didn’t ask them to pray for me. Besides, if I had, then they would have known I had disobeyed. That was the night that the nightmares began. Regrets? You’d better believe it!
Now, fast-forward to the age of 15. I was so excited because a group of ‘us girls’ was going to spend the night at another friend’s house. We arrive and walk in the door, to find that they are watching Friday the 13th and, of course, it was near the end. I was immediately set on edge. What was I to do? Talk about an extreme peer pressure situation! They didn’t know I didn’t like scary movies because we had never been in a situation that required the information prior to that night. I could sit there and add to my ‘bad dream issue,’ or I could leave the room. I am glad to say that I skipped out, went into the kitchen, stood in the corner and plugged my ears so hard I couldn’t have heard a mosquito buzz. Did they make fun of me? Oh, yeah. Did I ‘pay’ for my actions for some time to come? You’d better believe it. But, at least my ‘bad dream’ issue hadn’t been compounded.
Truthfully, I don’t understand why people sit and watch horror films. From a human standpoint, why add to the mental baggage that we have to deal with on a daily basis? There are enough ‘bad memories’ created from broken relationships, family problems, and other situations that our mental processes would probably appreciate not being bombarded with ‘horror memories,’ too. Aside from that, consider the spiritual angle of this.
The eyes must be pretty important to God. As I did a search, 478 different verses popped up that included the word ‘eyes.’ In Deuteronomy 6:4-8, the Israelites were told, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.“ (KJV) A frontlet is a band or phylactery worn on the forehead; a phylactery is described as two small square leather boxes containing slips inscribed with scriptural passage, traditionally worn on the left arm and on the head by observant Jewish men and especially adherents of Orthodox Judaism during morning weekday prayers. God knew that the Jews needed a constant reminder of His existence and their commitment to Him as their God.
“The eyes are the window of the soul” is a quote that has been attributed to numerous sources. However, I believe that it is a true statement, for that which we see is reflected in our spirit. It affects our thought processes, our speech, and ultimately, can affect our actions.
Proverbs 4:23-27 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
Come on, Christians. Do you really think Jesus would sit and watch a horror movie? What about a ‘good action movie’? Would He approve of the murder and mayhem? (Um…if I remember correctly, just about everything about them are listed in the Ten Commandments as “Thou shalt not…”) Would you want to watch those scenes played out in real life? Absolutely not! So, why would you invite the characters to enter the sanctity of your home and wreak havoc on your senses? Common sense dictates that long after the movie has ended, the memory lingers on. How many of you need to sleep with the nightlight or bathroom light on?
Fear is the opposite of faith. If you are afraid, faith can’t operate. It is literally as simple as that. God cannot begin to help us overcome the most basic issues in our life if fear rules our minds. And, before you say “Fear doesn’t rule me,” stop and make a mental list of everything that “freaks you out.”
I stopped having dreams a long time ago. But, it wasn’t until I completely surrendered my mind to Jesus that I stopped allowing fear to work me over. I am pleased to say that my daughters have never sat down and watched a horror flick with their friends (And before you say, “Yeah, right. They just never told you about it,” give me credit for having a close enough relationship with my children to know that I really do know that statement to be true).
God has too much for me to do for me to sit around watching all manner of violence. My mind is too precious for me to fill it with garbage. Call me an old fogey if you want. But, I choose to call myself a woman of purpose and vision, and one that is also free of bad dreams.
Consider setting aside the horror films and focus on the spiritual things of life. You could try reading your Bible through in a year. It’s definitely a much better accomplishment that your ability to list how many horror flicks you’ve seen.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)