Daily Devotional for Friday June 1, 2007
(Matthew 7:12, 22:37-39)
Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:37-39
Ultimate fighting is the hottest "sport," how far have we really come (or not), from the days of the Roman Coliseum? One of the contentions I have consistently made over the years is that man has never really changed from the Garden of Eden. We read about man's inhumanity to man as early as the 4th chapter of Genesis in the story of Cain and Abel. Those sad stories are still being told every day in the news. Most recently the mother in Texas who hung herself and three of her children. Since man's fall in the Garden, evil has been part of the human experience and is all around us. It takes on many forms. One of those forms has been evil masquerading as sport.
Throughout human history, sports, men competing against each other has been part of our world. In the capitalistic world of today, never before has sport become such a huge and lucrative business. It is very rare to find sports being played in its purest form any longer. In 2007 sports at almost every level are guided and ruled by one thing, money. In looking back on the history of sports, there have always been those physical competitions pitting one man's strength and abilities against another. Most of these "fighting sports" like wrestling and boxing concluded when one man had an advantage over the other. However, there has always been more violent and brutal forms of fighting that often included weapons. These types of fights would only end when one man killed the other.
We often think back to the days of the Roman Coliseum. The "sporting events" they hosted with capacity crowds in attendance were fights amongst men to the death. As one man would gain an advantage over his opponent, the fight would conclude with the "death shot." This would literally be one man killing the other to the wild cheers of the crowd. The halftime show at these Coliseum events would include taking men and women, often Christians, and putting them in the ring with a team of hungry lions. Of course, it was only a matter of time before each met their horrible death in the jaws of the lion, again, as the crowd cheered on. Of course we look at those days and say how barbaric, how inhumane, who could find any pleasure in seeing such brutality and death?
Well, the answer to that is WE WOULD! The hottest new "sport" that is now getting mainstream acceptance is ultimate fighting. Ultimate fighting has evolved from the underground fight clubs where men would fight other men with no rules or any other goal but to incapacitate their opponent. The underground fight clubs in Asia have been famous for centuries and death was often the end result for the loser of those fights. Years ago when ultimate fighting began to emerge in the United States as a form of sport, it was still in a pretty no-holds-barred brutal form. As corporate money has begun to flow into this new sport, they have instituted more rules, doing that to sanitize the action in able to market it to a more mainstream audience.
However, even in this sanitized form, it is still a brutal contest between two men with the goal of incapacitating your opponent. I will guarantee you that as this sport gains in popularity, there will emerge competing "leagues" who will do away with many of the new rules to take it back to a more brutal form that the masses will crave. I have said for many years now, that there is only one place for reality television to go, one place for Pay-Per-View events to go, and that is to display people getting killed. The only thing that is missing from ultimate fighting is the "death shot," that moment when one man has clearly beat his opponent, rendered him helpless, and then wins the match by killing him. I have no doubt that it won't be very long before you will be able to pay $79 on PPV and see that type of "sporting event."
My friend, we humans have an incredible capacity to hurt others. Sadly, we see it every day here at Liveprayer. Most do it in non-violent ways. Selfishly leaving your spouse and often your children after many years of marriage. Saying things that we know will hurt someone. Making decisions that inflict pain in people's lives. There are endless ways man inflicts heartache and pain on others. Why do people love to commit the sin of gossiping so much? They love to hear of others pain. Why do we drive by a car accident and have to slow down to look? We have this morbid curiosity with seeing others in pain.
The fact is, most people don't love their neighbor nor do they "do unto others." That is why those who follow these admonitions from the Lord stand out. It is not normal in this fallen world to love others as you love yourself. It is not normal in this fallen world to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These princilpes go against the grain of how the world lives and teaches people to live. This world teaches people to love themselves above all, to put themselves first at all times. This world teaches to do unto others before they do unto you. It is the law of the jungle, kill before you are killed. So with this being the prevailing mindset of how the world lives, it is no wonder man has no real capacity to love or care for other men. That mindset transcends even to the "sports" they watch to entertain themselves.
I love you and care about you so much. The ultimate fighting craze is only a microcosm of where we are as a people, but I believe a very telling one. It only demonstrates that our desire to be entertained by watching men suffer now becoming a mainstream form of entertainment, is simply further proof of how far our society and culture has deteriorated. It is also further proof of how far away we are from God. We no longer even try to hide our gross sexual perversion or our debauchery. We no longer have any shame or guilt and curse those who remind us of our sins. We live in open and defiant rebellion to the God of the Bible, His Truth and have rejected the love of Jesus in our lives.
We escape through the use of alcohol, drugs, gambling, deny our flesh nothing as we feed it with pornography and illicit sex of every kind imaginable, and find entertainment in seeing men brutalized and killed. Oh, now more than ever this lost world needs to turn to Jesus. He is the only answer and hope. I realize that the world doesn't want to hear about the Lord, but we see every day the destroyed lives of people who are looking for hope. That is why we do this each day. Fight to reach as many as we can through the Internet. Fight to reach as many as we can through the TV program. Look for new ways to reach the lost masses. I know there are people who are looking for a better life, who are tired of living in sin, who do yearn for real peace and joy. That is why with every breath I have, I will keep doing all I can to reach them with the hope and love of Jesus!
Please pray today for those you know who may find ultimate fighting entertaining. They have bought into the lies of this world that it is acceptable to enjoy watching men brutalize each other. Like drugs, and alcohol, and sex, and gambling, once their appetite for such violence is whetted, they will need to see more brutality, more violence to satisfy their cravings. Ultimately, only seeing men die in the name of sport will satisfy them. This is not a fad that will go away. It is not only here to stay, but will evolve into more brutal forms as the years go by. Ultimately, like in all things, the only real answer is to see the hearts of men changed by the power of God. Changed from hearts that seek to view their neighbor destroyed, to hearts that seek to love their neighbor as their selves.