â€œReflections on a Murder/Suicideâ€
Most of my life, I have been a professional wrestling fan. Donâ€™t worry, I stopped watching it years ago when it slid more into the world of â€œadult entertainmentâ€ leaving behind the predictable days of itâ€™s past when you could tell the good guys from the bad guys and you never heard profanity or saw women being treated with disdain and disrespect. But for the first 28 years of my life, I was a die-hard â€˜rassling fan. I even wrote a song about Ric Flair that was played on The JohnBoy and Billy Big Show for a few years and I have a collection of wrestling action figures to rival what an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh would have been buried with in his pyramid.
So when I heard about the unthinkable and brutal manner in which Chris Benoit recently killed his family and himself this week, I was shocked, confused, and emotionally upset for several reasons.
First, I have a wife an 2 sons. The thought of smothering them with a pillow or choking the life out of them like Chris Benoit did is inconceivable to me. There must have been something really broken and messed up inside of his mind and emotions to push him to a place of uncontrolled rage of that kind.
Second, the world of professional wrestling, whether you like it or not, is extremely influential to youth culture in and to male culture in general, transcending age and race. This bothers me because of the messages the industry now sends to the culture; women are play toys and objects of lust, profanity and racism are acceptable forms of communication, and extreme violence is no big deal. So when a star like Chris Benoit snaps, you would think people would ask themselves whyâ€¦and he is not the only one who has died prematurely. Bam Bam Bigelow. Kurt Henning. Eddie Guererro. Louie Spicolli. Flyinâ€™ Brian Pillman. Ravishing Rick Rude. Superstar Billy Graham. The list goes on. These guys are dropping like flies, in real life, not in a
Third, it seems like something much bigger is going on in our entertainment crazed culture. On top of the names I just mentioned, the people we are obsessed with are going nuts. They have way too many resources and not nearly enough self-control to handle them.
Our culture is sick. Not just the celebrities we create, but the â€œweâ€ who create them.
But I am most bothered by something that happened to me about 7 years ago in the Atlanta Hartsfield International airport. As usual, I was on my way to preach somewhere when I noticed standing beside me on the escalator was none other than the Canadian Crippler, Chris Benoit. He was a member of the Four Horsemen at the time and had not yet achieved superstar status as a World Champion, but he was beginning to make a name for himself.
I was dumfounded, but only for a second. We began talking about the latest fueds, I asked him about Ric Flair, and we talked about his toughest matches. Since I knew alot of inside info about the industry, he seemed impressed with what I had to say. He was kind and talkative.
There was a moment when, during the conversation, I knew that I was supposed to share the gospel with him and tell him that Jesus Christ loved him. I knew it as good as I knew my own name. But I did not do it. I only had a few minutes. I did not want to offend him. He was probably already a Christian. Blah Blah Blah.
When we got to the top of the escalator, I went right and he went left. I called a few of my buddies to tell them I had met, pound for pound, the toughest wrestler in the history of the sport, but I never said a word to him about his soul or about the love of Christ.
And I regret it. If I had known he would commit suicide after killing his family 7 years later, you bet your life I would have shared the gospel. But now he is dead, and his soul is somewhere. With Christ forever or separated from Him forever.
It is not my fault. I did not take his life. God could have sent others to share the gospel with him, and he could have even been a believer in Jesus who snapped under addictions and pressures that I will never know.
But what I do know is that I had the chance, I heard Godâ€™s voice, and I kept my mouth shut. And I sadly regret it with all my heart.
Since we all know that we are all going to die one day and it is just a matter of when and how, letâ€™s be eager to speak to the people we meet about Godâ€™s unending grace toward humanity and the love that Jesus Christ showed on the cross by dying for our sins and salvation.
And even if you never liked it or if you think the sport of professional wrestling is an obnoxious joke, pray for Christians like Shawn Michaels and Sting (Michael Borden) who have the opportunity to live their lives and tell their story to a group of men who have a shorter life expectancy than the rest of us. They may need the gospel sooner than they think. So may the next person you meet in line at the store, or on an escalator in the airport.