Sometimes life seems like the screenplay to a zombie movie. Don’t act like it doesn’t. We go through our lives, struggling to survive, hoping to accumulate as much stuff as we can and make it through the night to live another day. The world around us can seem harsh and cold, filled with people only interested in consuming as much as they can… and if we aren’t careful, their appetite for more will consume us! Man, sometimes the temptation is easy to barricade ourselves in for a last stand against a wave of zombies, seemingly to protect ourselves from the onslaught of death, destruction, negativity, and bitterness as well as we can.
Every good zombie flick has most of the same elements in the core story-line. Come on, you and I could write the screenplay: Some kind of plague has infested humanity, the dead are walking about, completely mindless except for a primal desire to feed on the flesh of the living, and a band of survivors travels about from place to place until they make a final last stand which kills off most of the characters. Sometimes the zombies can run, and other times they just limp around. Most of the time the only way to kill them off is to destroy their brains, which makes for some serious blood and gore to satisfy even the most discerning fans of the genre.
Zombies are a completely ruined image of humanity. They are without rational thought, without compassion, without mercy, and doomed to rot away slowly as they lurk in the woods and in basements… which by the way are the two places one should not wander around alone in a zombie flick.
In some ways, a zombie is a biblical metaphor for fallen humanity. They aren’t merely sick; their entire nature has changed from what we recognize as humanity… to a moaning, stumbling mess. In some ways this can be a direct picture of how the Bible describes sin. Sin has distorted the nature of humanity. It isn’t a mere bacterial infection or a lousy attitude; it is a complete ruination of humanity at the very core.
But that is where the comparison stops. In a zombie movie, the world is without hope except a fleeting dream of survival. The zombies are walking corpses without a future or a chance at being anything other than what they are: rotting consumers of everything around them. We have more hope than that. We have Jesus.
There really are no permanent Zombies. Zombies on TV are hopeless and dead already. Humanity has hope, no matter how bad things seem.
Yes, you may look out of the barricaded building you and your band of survivors have made it into and see a mob of zombies, mumbling and clutching for every piece of you they can get their hands on. People band together and hide out from life within the church walls when they feel threatened by the world outside. If we can go all metaphorical for a moment: Yes, you may see one of your own get bit and watch them turn… from human to… one of them. Yes, this happens. You see people “bit” by pain, by loss, by anger, by resentment, by bitterness, by pride, by self-righteousness, by whatever… But wait… you don’t HAVE to become a zombie just because life bites. Remember, zombies are without hope, and you have it. The world is redeemable. Our condition is not certain. Because of Jesus, there is hope.
I’m not saying that because of Jesus, the zombies aren’t out there. Oh, they are. I’m not saying that because of the cross and empty tomb that each of us should ignore the harm that the zombies in this world can inflict. We should beware their bite. We should beware being engulfed in their midst and never become one of them. Never, because Zombies are wasting away.
I’m saying that just like a zombie bites and destroys in a movie, the christian extends grace and kindness. Zombies devour and infect; followers of Jesus bring grace and build up. Zombies on TV have no hope. Zombies as a metaphor do. Put your 3D glasses and brace yourselves… there are Zombies and hopeful survivors.
Which are you?