Magnum PI and Our Proper Place

Tom and I have been watching way too much television while the park is closed.  Magnum PI (the 1980’s version) is on one of our channels with episodes at 3, 4, 5, and 6 p.m.  While the park was open we watched one episode most days and enjoyed it.  But lately we have been watching at least one and sometimes two episodes of Magnum PI.  Unfortunately it is not a show that lends itself to binge watching.

Magnum PI is a product of its times, with women being treated primarily as decoration.  The other day there was an episode with a woman security consultant and Magnum could only think about her as a sex object.  He refused to take her security suggestions seriously.  Then, a couple of episodes later, a beautiful young woman in her 20’s seemed to “fall” for Higgins.  Magnum’s male ego was hurt and he eventually uncovered how she was using Higgins.  Higgins, of course, thought it perfectly natural that a beautiful young woman would think he was the man of her dreams.

Both episodes of Magnum PI made me gag.  The male ego was clearly on display, and not in a good way.  Magnum and Higgins were so puffed up with their own evaluations of how splendid they are that they couldn’t see what was really happening.

Fortunately Magnum PI is just a television show filmed 40 years ago.  Unfortunately, there are still plenty of egos on display in real life.  I can’t believe the protesters I see who want the lockdowns to be lifted completely.  The people who think that wearing a facemask is infringing on their rights as an American.  All of this makes me so sad for our society.

In Mark 12:28-31, Jesus is answering questions and one of the questions is from a teacher of the law.  Their conversation goes like this:  One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Love God.  Love others as you love yourself.  No commandment is greater than these.  This is important – it is something for all of us professing to be Christians to remember.  But some of us love ourselves too much to pay attention to our neighbors.  Like Magnum and Higgins, our egos get in the way of truly helping and caring for those around us.

God wants us to love ourselves because he loves us.  We are precious to him and we are wonderfully made.  But he wants us to keep this in perspective.  Our lives are not more important than those of our neighbors.  They are also precious to God.

So I am staying home as much as I can right now.  I love my own life but I also love Tom’s life and the lives of the people I encounter.  I will wear a mask when I got out in public because I am trying to love my neighbor as I love myself.  Keeping all of us as safe as possible is how I am doing that.

Oswald Chambers wrote “I am as good as you are” is ego talking.  “You are as good as I am” is love talking.  May God use this pandemic as a way to increase our love for others through the actions that we take.