I love being busy. It’s just in my makeup. I tend to overextend myself, and my days fill up pretty quickly. As a result, I don’t have much time to follow what is happening in the news, or much time to follow current T.V. programs. I am always busy on the nights that any particular show I’m interested in might be showing. Because of this I tend to just not watch many current programs. Instead I watch shows that have already completed their runs on sites such as Netflix, Hulu
or Amazon Prime.
One of the shows I have enjoyed following on Netflix is called Doc Martin. If you aren’t familiar with the series, it tracks the life of an English surgeon that develops
a fear of blood, and as a consequence, moves to a small village in the country to be the town’s general practitioner. The humor in the show is derived from the fact that the doctor has no bedside manner, and is very terse with his patients. Quirky towns’ people round out the cast and help set up some very good situational humor.
In one of the episodes, a pair of married psychologists move into the village with their pre-teen son. Soon after, people begin noticing their cars have been keyed, and property damage is taking place. Eventually the young man is caught in the act by the doctor. But when he confronts the parents about their child’s actions, they seem unfazed. “Why are you so upset? Our boy didn’t hurt anyone. We are trying to teach him to be a free spirit.” The parents (who are at the time burning the carcass of a badger that was found on the side of the road to “release its spirit”) seem oblivious to the concerns of the community. Of course the town’s people don’t buy into this way of parenting, and the couple eventually pays for the damage done by their son.
I’m Not Hurting Anyone
While this makes for some funny moments in a T.V. show, they attitude of “I’m not hurting anyone” can be less humorous in real life. Often as Christians, we are called to stand on moral principles that are not shared by society. One of the usual replies’ when Christians raise objections to a certain behavior or action is: “Well, I’m not hurting anyone”. This statement has always baffled me. How exactly do they know that no one is being hurt? It seems like this statement becomes a conversation killer. You aren’t really supposed to continue on once someone has uttered this phrase, are you? But have you ever considered asking a question back and challenging this a little?
I have recently tried a particular tactic that seems to get to the heart of the flaws in this type of thinking. Whenever someone offers this phrase to me as a defense of some type of behavior, I ask a question. “What if I can show you that this behavior actually does hurt people, would you then be against it?” The reply to this question is predictable. “Well, no I would still want to continue with my behavior, because I think its ok”. I then point out that this is very different from their original statement. “Aren’t you now telling me, I want to do something, and I don’t care if anyone gets hurt”?
You Are Twisting My Words
Mind you, I am not simply using a rhetorical trick used to win an argument. Many of the so called “harmless” activities that our postmodern culture embraces actually do hurt not only the participants, but all of society as well. So when you hear this phrase uttered, don’t be afraid to push back a little. The person is going to have a hard time proving that their actions cause no physical, emotional, familial or societal pain to anyone. We don’t live in a vacuum. Our actions do affect other people. We often are willing to overlook others pain if it means getting our way.
Luke 14:34 tells us to be salt to the earth. “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? “ We need to speak God’s truth, even when it is not popular. Does it not seem that we have reached a point in our culture where the person with the fewest moral restrictions is considered to be the most moral? One way we can counter this is by graciously exposing faulty thinking when we encounter it. Don’t accept a claim of “I’m not hurting anyone” without thinking a little deeper on the matter, and try to get the person uttering the claim to think a little too! Stop the bad thinking, and maybe less people will be hurt!