When Immaturity Results in Unfounded Fears

With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve start a new yearly tradition: watching scary movies.  Now, I know that this practice seems like a no-brainer to many people, but for me it’s something entirely new.  In my youth, I’d always been too afraid to watch anything in the horror genre.  As such, many perennial and seminal classics have passed me by, and I am now playing catch-up by watching such favorites as “Halloween”, “Poltergeist”, and “The Exorcist” for the first time.  Although I am thoroughly enjoying my time going through them (as many of them are amazingly engrossing movies with excellent scripts), I find that they are not as scary as I had feared.  Like the small child that forever feared that the bogeyman lived in his closet, and upon investigating, found only his hanging clothes and a few forgotten about toys, I’m feeling somewhat foolish, as it took me thirty or so years to work up the courage to watch these movies.  They may have been frightening at the time, but now they are quaint and amusing.  However, I would argue that it’s not necessarily the movies that have changed, but that it was me.  For example, I was watching a forgotten about 1987 movie entitled “The Gate” the other day, and found it to be both goofy and somewhat predictable.  Afterwards, I watched a positive review of the film and was encouraged to view it through the eyes of a pre-teen.  When I rethought the film, I realized that scenes where rubber latex demon arms reached out from under a bed to grab at the main heroes would have been completely terrifying to a ten-year old me.  Similarly, another scene where the main character grows a functioning eye in his hand would have absolutely and completely freaked me out.  However, because I now know that nothing frightening will ever be waiting for me under my bed, save for some over-sized dust bunnies, and that the chances of an eye growing out of my hand are next to none, these events don’t phase or affect my current viewing self.  I have grown and matured as an adult, and those child-like fears do not affect me anymore.  My thinking has matured to where I know that these sights are not real, and thus ridiculous and not frightening.  1 Corinthians 14.20 suggests that we approach evil in a similar manner: “Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.”  Paul encourages the Corinthian church and us that our minds should be mature with discernment, that we should be able to logically decide what is good and right, rejecting what is wrong, but that we should also have the same level of experience with evil similar to that of a small child.  We should not pursue evil but should be innocent and devoid of experience.  Christ wants us to mature our minds with knowledge and understanding, but let our experience with evil be immature, which would explain why I would have been so frightened as a child with these films.  As a child, my experience would be small, but my mind would be immature, so I would not approach these films as I do now: rejecting the frights as foolishness.  Because I was so welled up with fear and immaturity, I chose to not watch scary movies, but now that my mind has matured, I am no longer paralyzed in action.  So, in our maturity, let’s reject the fears that plague us that shouldn’t.  Don’t let fear stop us from moving forward.  Let’s mature our minds and realize the fears that are holding us back, as fear is the great inhibitor of achieving truly great and wonderful things with our lives.  Amen.

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