This past Sunday, audiences were huddled around their television for the Season 7 premier of The Walking Dead. People were left wondering for months on end who would be the next character who would face their inevitable demise at the hands of a madman. While the answer to the fated question was revealed, the death portrayed quickly gained a reputation for being vivid, overly graphic, and pushing beyond boundaries not ever charted in television history.
So much so that people were outraged and offended. People who wouldn’t normally be offended offered their commentary to violence even go so far as to label the depiction of gore “torture porn.” For a great article, check out Focus On The Family’s Article The Walking Dead Has Gone Too Far … Even For Some of Its Fans by Paul Asay. While I did watch the episode myself, I would have to agree. The Walking Dead has never been particularly known for its reserved nature with regard to violence, yet this one felt strangely different.
The Walking Dead did not get to where it was overnight. This is not the first instance of criticism towards their violence, but it is certainly the most pronounced. Yet, if you go back to the first season, it was “relatively tame” compared to where it is now. Sure, there was the violence and gore, but nothing to the extent you see now. The build up was gradual, pushing the boundaries ever so subtly every episode, every year. A little bit of influence, over time, shaped and crafted the show into the violence that it gives today, all for the sake of ratings.
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
– 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, NIV
When you make it your business to push the boundaries, eventually you will take a look around and realize that you no longer recognize where you are. Likewise, when you push the boundaries of sin and things you allow in your life, even small subtle things, you eventually look up and realize you have no idea how you got where you are now. Rarely are struggles born from one instance, but from a harboring of “leaven” in our core. Pride. Lust. Envy. Anger. While these may seen innocuous at first, their effects grow exponentially and quickly.
All of this begs the question: “What yeast am I allowing to leaven my soul?”
The Leaven of Our Soul
Whatever we place in that inner sanctum of our inner being, this grows and deepens into something much greater. Just as yeast spreads and multiples quickly, whatever we place in our hearts grows. If we allow a little sin and a little compromise, our craving for that will grow exponentially. Sin and temptation are hungry zombies that can never be fully quenched, only starved.
Similarly, when we pursue the True and Living God, when we receive a taste of true, authentic spiritual bread, even just a little, that desire will be multiplied by the hand of God. When chase after God, we find our lives craving earnestness and sincerity, not puffed up by falsehood. We find a true and genuine love from a perfect and Holy Father. Though we may have times of drought and doubt, that yearning for something greater can never be quenched, only starved.
Like The Walking Dead, we will all start out somewhere and whatever we choose to seep into our identity, that will grow. At some point, we will stop and take a look at the world around us and see that we are somewhere new. Wherever you find the leaven of your sinful desires, Christ offers us redemption of His forgiveness and restoration. From wherever we are now, by fleeing the falseness of yeast, we have a way home. We are never abandoned and most assuredly never left for dead.