The Danger of Making Evil Things “Cute”
By THE SET APART GIRL TEAM
An Intro from Leslie
A girl I knew was struggling with nightmares and fearful, irrational thoughts on a nearly-constant basis. One afternoon as we met together for prayer, she casually mentioned that she’d just come from a movie. When she told me which one she’d seen, I was taken aback. It was a horror/suspense film, and though it was one of the “milder” ones, it still was all about demonic darkness and death. She seemed oblivious to the fact that there might be a connection between her struggles with fear and nightmares and the kind of movies she was watching.
As darkness has become more and more trendy in our culture, it’s all too easy to treat evil lightly. We read vampire novels, watch horror movies, or wear skeletons on our clothing, often without realizing the terrible impact that this can have upon our souls. Stop and think about it for a minute. Doesn’t it stand to reason that when we participate in things that glorify darkness, we are giving the prince of darkness access to our minds and subconscious?
Deuteronomy 18:10-13 says, “There shall not be found among you anyone who…practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord.”
Those of us who have grown up in church might not believe this warning has much to do with us. But remember: even something as seemingly innocent as reading your horoscope in the newspaper is actually not innocent at all — it is participating in the occult practice of fortune telling. As Corrie ten Boom said, it is asking Satan for help instead of God.
Movies about séances or communicating with dead people might seem like no big deal — especially if you “don’t really believe in it.” But watching those movies is, in essence, participating in the occult practice of “calling up the dead.”
Many modern Christians have become far too careless toward darkness and evil, largely because the culture has given evil a “makeover” in recent years. No longer are vampires grotesque, horrifying monsters — now they are displayed as gallant, desirable heartthrobs. No longer are skulls and skeletons flaunted by rebellious teens with switchblades and skateboards — now these symbols of death adorn everything from baby bedding to designer handbags. Our culture has redefined evil to seem harmless, fun, cute, and attractive. And all too often, we are falling for the illusion, believing that evil is not really evil if it comes in a cute package.
Remember the wildly popular Twilight book and movie series that came onto the scene a few years ago? Because the main characters in the series seemed to keep their relationship relatively pure (at least in the physical sense), many Christians assumed the story was God-honoring. But here is the question very few asked: Is there really such a thing as a pure, wholesome, and God-honoring vampire movie? No matter how much Hollywood gloss is used to make darkness seem like light — the reality is that it’s still darkness. Vampirism has its roots in demonic human torture and Satanism. A handsome, charming vampire is just as demonic as a villainous one. And in fact, a “heroic” vampire is probably more harmful than a hideous one, because he often fools us into believing that evil can somehow be good and right.
1 John 1:5 says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” It is not possible for light and darkness to mix. In the book of Acts when new believers came to Christ, it says that “many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all” (Acts 19:19).
These believers knew that if they were to devote themselves to Christ and walk in the light, they must no longer dabble in darkness, but eradicate those things completely from their lives, and submit to a new power. It’s time we follow their “radical” example.
If you desire to be free from the enemy’s control over your life, heart, mind, and emotions, removing darkness from your life — no matter how “cute” or “fashionable” it may be — is a critical step. We’d like to share some specific ways that our Set Apart Girl Team has been challenged to choose light over darkness — I hope these examples will exhort you toward God’s desire that we be “wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil” (Rom. 16:19 NIV). What amazing freedom comes when we choose to love what God loves, and hate what God hates!
Growing up overseas, I didn’t have much exposure to things like Halloween decorations and other forms of trendy paraphernalia that made evil seem fun or cute. Instead, I was exposed to the “actual” thing. The main religions where we lived were Buddhism and Animism (which is spirit worship). We saw the temples and watched the people as they did their rituals. You could sense the heaviness and desperation and darkness. I usually left feeling physically sick. We heard stories all the time of Christian friends who were facing opposition because of a brother or an uncle who had become a shaman (witch doctor) or Buddhist monk, and were threatening to curse them and kick them out of their home if they continued to profess Christ as Lord.
In the West, there is a deceptive sheen over things having to do with spiritual darkness. I have heard Americans say that religions like Buddhism and New Age-type cults seem freeing and beautiful and they are drawn to the simplicity of it. But when you actually see the kind of bondage that people are held to because of it, it is anything but freeing — it is anything but beautiful. It is horrific and evil, and it holds people under the continual stronghold of fear. We as Christians should have absolutely nothing to do with any form of spiritual darkness. This is what Jesus died to free us from. Decorating our homes and adorning our bodies with things that represent death and darkness are things that our American culture takes for granted. But no matter how innocent or lighthearted it may seem, it is not something we should mess around with.
There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about being brought from darkness into light. (See Romans 13:12; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9, to name a few.) As children of God, we represent light and are to oppose the things of darkness. As Ephesians 5:8 says, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (ESV). May we walk representing to this world the glorious, beautiful light of Jesus Christ, and live fully in the freedom from darkness that He has given to us!
A few years ago I attended the wedding of two Christians. Following the wedding was a dance reception, complete with the chicken dance, hokey-pokey, the twist, and every classic party song you can think of. The most unforgettable moment of the evening came when Michael Jackson’s acclaimed song “Thriller” came on. Excitement buzzed on the dance floor and those who knew the zombie-crawl routine by heart huddled into lines to begin dancing along. The “dance” was in full swing — people were acting like walking corpses and blood-thirsty zombies. Meanwhile, seated at a back table and purposely engaged in conversation, my heart was wrenched by what I saw. Here I was, at a wedding reception (the holiest of earthly celebrations!) watching dozens of people — Christians included — naively partying along to the wake-the-dead boogie. I will never forget the darkness that I sensed in those moments or the grief that welled up in my heart as I watched God’s people mindlessly dance with darkness.
We bear such a casual attitude about the things of darkness in our American culture—take, for instance, zombie-crawls at wedding receptions! There is hardly any distinction between light and darkness. Skulls are deemed “cute.” You’ll find them on baby clothes, and even feminine wallets, scarves, and fingernail appliqués! (And if you visit more than one store, you’re bound to find a plethora of skulls embellished with bows, rhinestones, and polka dots, too!) Buddha heads and statues have dawned as stylish decor. Halloween, meditative yoga, palm reading, tarot cards, horoscopes, hypnosis, Reiki, witchcraft, and so many more are “normal” entertainment, personal helps, and pastimes.
While many girls shudder and become increasingly uncomfortable at the topic of demons, the powers of darkness, the spiritual realm, hell, and the like — how many Christian girls in our day excitedly spend Saturday nights vegging out for a Twilight marathon, wearing an “I ‘heart’ vampires” T-shirt, celebrating the blood-drawing, demonically-inspired tale? Do you see the discrepancy here?
While pop-culture has expertly glossed over the spiritual reality with romantic glitz, let’s get down to the reality. If you think that you can “casually” partake of darkness by hailing Harry Potter, dressing up for Halloween, or dancing along to a zombie-crawl — just for fun — with no spiritual-strings attached, you have been sorely deceived. Toying with the things of darkness is no game, my sisters. Let me assure you, you are being played. As you partake of anything (overtly or subtlety) tied to darkness, you are biting the worm on the soul-seeking hook of Satan.
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 Jn. 1:5-6).
The Bridge of Obedience
If you have been sitting in a spiritual mud-puddle, toying with unclean things, let me say that I can relate. Growing up in shallow Christian waters, I had no real understanding of spiritual warfare or spiritual darkness. My growing up years were spent celebrating the hoard of candy-booty earned through trick-or-treating, and eagerly partaking of the magically intriguing Harry Potter books and movies. I enjoyed digging through the Sunday paper to find the horoscopes, while fortune-tellers were mere recess entertainment in my elementary school days. It wasn’t my intention to rejoice in wickedness or tie myself to things of darkness — I was oblivious, intrigued, and just “having fun.”
As I began to go deeper in my relationship with God as a teenager, He opened my eyes to see that a spiritual darkness overshadowed me because of my naive involvement (past and present) in seemingly mild spiritual activities. It was during this time that I learned about the radical reign of King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34.
In a nutshell, when the Word of God was brought before King Josiah he rent his clothing in repentance over his sin, and rallied his kingdom to follow the one true God. He demonstrated unabashed obedience to God’s Word, leading the people of his kingdom in tearing down the high places and burning their idols, repenting of their ways, and then consecrating themselves to the Living God. (I encourage you to read the account in its entirety!)
Just as God had faithfully revealed His Word to King Josiah, God faithfully revealed His Word to me — and I realized that God expected my response to be sincere and radical, like King Josiah’s was. Now aware of my sin, I submitted to God’s Word and repented of my involvement in the things of darkness and the idols that had claimed my heart. As I walked forward in obedience, I began to experience what it was like to pursue Christ without spiritual hindrance hanging over my life. Heeding God’s Word brought a cloud-breaking freedom and victory into my life — it was a beautiful, life-changing repentance that I will never forget.
God’s Word makes it plain and clear: every area of our lives as daughters of the King are to be marked with simplicity, purity, and light, set apart for Him alone. As we encounter the Word of God, our response is to be the same as King Josiah’s: we are to fervently, whole-heartedly, immediately obey it. (See 1 John 1:5-10; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; James 4:7-10.) As you have read this article, you have encountered truth that has the power to radically change your life. If you are a daughter of God, obedience is not optional — it is required.
A joy-flooded, hope-filled, life-giving, intimate walk with Jesus Christ awaits you just beyond the bridge of obedience. You have nothing to lose but the spiritual ties that have bound your soul, claimed your heart, and robbed your affections from our worthy Christ — and you have everything to gain in Christ alone. As Charles Spurgeon once wrote, the question stands before us today: “Shall such a Love as this have half our hearts?”