I’ve seen a couple episodes, and I get it—Criminal Minds is fascinating and engaging. It’s easy to get caught up in. It’s also dark, as you should probably expect a show about studying and profiling the criminal mind to be. I know we all have varying levels of sensitivity to things, so this darkness will effect some more than others. But what if it doesn’t? I mean, what if it affects everyone the same but some people are simply more aware of how it’s effecting them? What if our varying levels of sensitivity aren’t so much to the outside thing but to ourselves? Like a broken bone is a broken bone and effects everyone the same in terms of functionality, but some people will be more sensitive to (or tolerant of) the pain that broken bone causes. What if the more “sensitive” people are actually just healthier because they are more aware when something is hurting them and therefore quicker to remedy the situation? Like a person who eats healthily most the time will be more aware of how their body reacts to bad food than a person who eats poorly all the time. It doesn’t mean the bad eater is healthier or stronger when they don’t “feel bad” for eating bad food. In fact, it’s probably the opposite. Their lack of appropriate (sensitive) response to bad foods in their system is probably a sign that they are un-healthy, that their body has lost its sense of health. Both are equally effected by the bad food, but unequal in their awareness of it.
I’m not sure that I’m 100% right on this, or that it, at least, is 100% applicable to all situations. I do think it bears some prayerful consideration, however. That maybe we need to re-think our entertainment diet and see if the Great Physician would prescribe some changes in what we feast on, (maybe permanently, maybe for a season) in order to restore some health to our mind and emotions and spirit. Maybe, if we find ourselves thinking “the darkness doesn’t bother me,” we might want to question why and ask ourselves it’s that really such a good thing.
Which brings me to what I really wanted to write about in regards to Criminal Minds… (that was bonus!)… Why are we spending so much time getting to know the minds of criminals when God says we are to know the mind of Christ??? Again, I’m not really harping on the show – I’ve enjoyed watching it myself at times…and I won’t necessarily say that I’ll never watch another episode, or that even if I do or don’t, there aren’t other shows I should be asking the same questions about… I’m not here telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t watch, that would make me the pot and the kettle, both, I think. I’m here asking the questions myself, to myself, for myself, out loud… and sharing them with this cosmic void called the internet in hopes that others might share this journey of wrestling with what it is to be holy and to be in the world but not of the world… These are not easy questions.
Over and over this question has been in my mind lately, though. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. (Ironic, since I can’t actually remember the last time I saw an episode of Criminal Minds.) Why study the criminal mind when I could be studying the mind of Christ?! Ugh. Because I like to be entertained. Bad answer. Honest answer.
And I wonder if my question about the criminal mind applies to other cop shows I watch that aren’t as dark, and don’t study the criminal mind as much or not… Like I’m asking, “How far do I really have to take this, Lord?” I’ll give up that one show… I get it, it’s dark. Some of these other shows are fine, though, right?! But then I hear Matt Chandler’s oft repeated question in my mind, too, almost in response. “What are the things that stir your affections for Jesus, and what are the things that rob you of them?”
I’m not here to give prescriptions. I’m not here to say what you need to do or not do. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. If I’m honest, I can’t even say what I’m going to do, yet, with these thoughts. I wish I could tell you that I wanted to take more drastic measures than I do. I’m like that person who wants to want to diet, but knows full well that they don’t really want to change their eating habits…even though they want to change their weight. My “want to” isn’t really the issue here, though. My “need to” is. I may need to go on a Netflix/entertainment “diet” for a while to recalibrate my system to be more in line with Christ’s. And I definitely need to start by asking the Lord to give me the desire to do His will. So grateful for this promise that, “It is God who works in you, both to will and to act according to His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). There is hope for change even in the midst of my lack of actual desire for change.
I’m constantly convicted by Psalm 101 where he says that he will put “nothing that is worthless before his eyes.” There are no “empty calories”. What we eat either brings life to our bodies or death. The same is true in our souls. Go read Psalm 101 and see how extreme he is. The entire Psalm is kind of his manifesto about how he’ll live his life in a way that will keep his soul clean and pure. God says we should have his mind and we should love what He loves and hate what He hates. Sadly, we are often entertained by the things that He hates and/or is grieved by. In order to recalibrate our systems, to get them in alignment with His, sometimes we need to do a soul detox or an entertainment diet, taking some dedicated time to “set our minds above and not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2).
Whatever else we may decide to do or not do, let us at least decide that before we try to know the minds of criminals we make knowing the mind of Christ our first priority.