There are real monsters among us

Published 2:19 am Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween has always been a holiday that has caused me to be a bit uncomfortable. I’ve always enjoyed the candy angle, especially as a young child. Walking for miles and knocking on stranger’s doors to receive candy was always fun. If people wouldn’t think me as being strange, I’d probably do it as an adult.

Even the costume part is acceptable, when children will dress up in non-threatening costumes. But the witches, vampires, and monsters; well that part of Halloween has always made me a bit uncomfortable. As a child, I would hide my eyes from images that might cause nightmares. Those pretend monsters instilled fear in many a child until we learned that they were only pretend.

Now Halloween has a new set of monsters. Not the kind that are created by people dressing up in scary costumes. No, today’s Halloween monsters are people who appear respectful, yet behind their masks of decency they are creatures who prey on the innocent. Men and women who disguise themselves as being responsible and concerned for the welfare of others, yet when unmasked reveal a soul that is disgusting and evil. In the past we were always afraid of the pretend monsters that lived in the dark, now we find ourselves frightened by the real monsters that are revealed by the light.

Halloween is a holiday that is often celebrated by normal people putting on scary masks. Yet, in real life the actual monsters are the scary people who wear masks of normalcy. They are judges that secretly abuse their position for personal gain, mayors who use their office to increase their bank account, businessmen who defraud the public for selfish profit and even pastors who abuse the innocent.

What creates such monsters? In the Bible we read, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) These monsters are the result of a desperately wicked heart. When the evil of sin is allowed to go unchecked, then man, who was created in the “image of God,” is transformed into a monster. He tries to cover his wickedness with respectability, but like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde eventually the beast comes out.

How do we destroy these monsters? These kinds of monsters must be held responsible for their actions and when found guilty they deserved to be punished. But there are no silver bullets, special potions, or stakes to pound through their wicked hearts that will rid us once and for all of their kind. Nor do we defeat them by hiding, being afraid and distrusting everyone.

God has provided the answer to our monster invasion in the person of Jesus. When a sinner finds forgiveness in Christ, then monsters are transformed. But, if sin is allowed to go unchecked in a person’s heart, then decent people will continue to become the same kind of monsters that frighten us.

Dr. Fred W. Karthaus III

Pastor, First Baptist Church of Andalusia