The finale of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” aired earlier this week, and, for the first time ever, people are shocked by a contestant’s weight. Wait, Bobby, isn’t the whole point of the show to parade morbidly obese people in front of cameras in spandex and display their physiques to millions? Ah, but this outrage isn’t over how heavy someone is. It’s about how skinny they are. That’s right. People are upset that the winner of “The Biggest Loser” lost too much weight.
I won’t go into whether this outrage is justified or not. However, I will address the incessant desire of us consumers to reserve the right to find a problem with every single thing we consume. We cram our faces with the gluttonous slop that cascades out of our flat screens all the while decrying the filth that fills the airwaves.
In this case, people have spent months watching out-of-shape people compete to lose weight only to be upset in the end that someone might have crossed some subjective line and became “too skinny”. Another example: how many Christian men and women shudder wail at the eroding moral fabric of the family unit and, consequently, our nation while they simultaneously line up at the feed trough to suck down garbage like “The Bachelor” or virtually any other “reality” show?
As a man who has spent way too much time at the toxic buffet line that is most modern television programming, I am increasingly aware that the more I nestle into my indentation on the couch and slip into a TV-induced comma the more I find myself becoming spiritually and physically lethargic. My attention is given almost completely to buffoons and tramps selling contrived versions of themselves for a piece of the celebrity pie. My interaction with my wife and kids plummets. I become a drooling lump that is only capable of speaking in guttural or mono-syllabic noises. On the rare occasion I am capable of forming a coherent thought, it is usually about how horrible that which I am consuming tastes. My appetites shift from that which is pleasing to God to more of what satisfies the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life. I become what I consume, and I hate every single second of it.
Don’t get me wrong. My television isn’t the problem. It’s just a piece of technology. I am the problem. I am the fat guy sitting on my couch mocking fat people on primetime while I do my best not to spill my bowl of gravy all over the couch. I’m the one who lingers too long at scantily clad women bemoaning their promiscuity. Nope, my TV is not the problem. I am.
My sin-damaged heart longs to point out the failings in the life of others while I get fatter and fatter spiritually to the point that I resemble the people aboard the Axiom in “Wall-E”. I want to sit in the cheap seats and throw stones at the people in the arena. I want to be the guy who is so hysterically cynical about everyone else that no one notices how utterly inadequate I feel in most areas of my life.
But praise be to God, the increasing awareness of my spiritual obesity in connection with my entertainment choices is a sign of God’s grace. The Holy Spirit continually prompts me to walk away from the slop and feast on things that will honor God and bless others. I struggle to make the hard choices that would eliminate the toxic influences in my family, but I know that the ability to make those changes of heart and action is not inherently mine. It comes from a God who gives good things that are sweeter than honey straight from the comb.
My prayer for you and me is that we would take God up on His offer “to taste and see that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8)