I recently watched the Digimon live stream of the entire first season. It was a pretty fun, nostalgic watch, especially reading all the live comments from other fans made for a more interesting experience. I realized several things about Digimon that ran counter to my thoughts based on a mixture of nostalgia, realism, and incorrect memories. I initially recall Digimon being slowly paced, but its pacing is actually pretty darn good. While suffering the syndrome of “monster of the week,” each episode provides necessary growth of the characters (in this case, literal digivolving). When you think about it, they put in 5 arcs into 54 episodes, which made for little downtime.
A fun fact I realized is the battle in the real world takes place in Odaiba, and the famous Tokyo Big Sight is featured several times. Since the time period was also early August, this further meant the battle occurred just prior to summer Comiket! The chat had some fun joking that Digimon was really about saving Comiket. Also, apparently the soundtrack abused Bolero a lot more than I recall. Sometimes it didn’t even make sense to be playing such a song but there it was, playing in the background. Aside from obvious usage of stock footage, I also realized Digimon is quite poorly animated at times. Abrupt scene transitions and points where a couple seconds were very clearly cut indicates that there were some production issues, or possibly simply due to episode time constraints and not caring how bad the results looked. There were numerous places I couldn’t help but admit “yeah, this is some really bad animation quality,” but hey it’s Digimon, one of my most nostalgic childhood shows, so whatever.
One of the most impactful moments in Digimon to me as a child was the digivolution of Greymon into Skullgreymon. Rewatching it was…well a lot less exciting than I recall. Instead, a statement later on is made that I must have forgotten. I recalled Taichi’s forced methods as a cause of Greymon’s incorrect evolution. However, the reason was slightly different in that it was an incorrect display of courage – but technically courage nonetheless. Taichi does display a form of courage, what his crest resembles, but it was one where he purposely put himself in danger for the sake of power. It was not the forceful actions but rather a twisted form of courage which gave birth to Skullgreymon.
Christianity is known for many things today, oftentimes bad things. There are too many outspoken people who call themselves Christians while spewing hate and slander towards others. It is amazing that these people can claim to love Jesus and God while wishing death upon others. It is perhaps an extreme, modern example of the Pharisees, except these people today do not even necessarily hold positions of power or education. They are merely people who put others down to raise themselves up, at least in their own minds. This cannot even be called a twisted form of love – it is malice, plain and simple.
But what about more “normal,” everyday Christians? There are plenty of examples of Christians who don’t condemn others. Some might not be able to help judging, but they do have enough self-control to stop themselves from acting on those thoughts. In fact, some Christians are so inclined to avoid conflict, they won’t even bring up these issues with their fellow Christians. And this avoidance is the opposite problem of condemning people who aren’t Christians. It is a problem that probably crosses the mind of most Christians at some point in time, but very few will actually bring the topic up, perhaps afraid of confrontation. Those who do are often quickly shut down with excuses like “it’s not a big deal.” And I’m not necessarily referring to extreme problems like murder but smaller, everyday sins that, while understandable, are nonetheless wrong.
Allowing such actions by fellow Christians to occur right in front of us might be called a form of love for them – we are willing to accept them despite their flaws, forget their struggles with sin, and focus only on loving them for who they are. But in reality, like Taichi’s twisted form of courage, this is a twisted form of love. Ignoring the sin in front of us is not the right way to go about loving others. Rather, we should be confronting it, holding each other to the highest standard – God’s standard, but simultaneously continuing to love each other. Correcting fellow Christians is a form of correct love. It is different than correcting and denouncing others for sinning. Indeed, there is a distinct difference in how we should judge Christians and those who aren’t. In fact, Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 5:12-13,
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you.’
Judging non-Christians at all is unneeded altogether! Other Christians are the ones we should be judging. And to me, this makes sense, because before even as a Christian, but as a logical person, there is no reason why I should expect others to follow my personal ideas of morality. However, I would expect them to at least follow what they claim are their own ideas and morals, and thus people who claim to be Christians should hold similar beliefs as my own. While I admit I do judge others all the time, I will usually judge them based on what they have told me they believe in; in other words, I tend to judge their honesty about themselves rather than from a personal view of morality (that said, I’m hardly perfect in this regard).
It is much easier to stop others from judging non-Christians because it gets followed by flowery explanations like “we only need to show them love, not judgment.” However, it is quite difficult to tell others to judge each other more strictly, especially when that involves asking others to help judge yourself. Perhaps that is why we are so willing to overlook the actions of others as others will in turn overlook our own actions. And perhaps we are fearful not of being judged but of being condemned; I wouldn’t be surprised if a major problem is we simply aren’t very good at judging others in love, no matter who they may be. There are so many ways we can justify the behavior. Taichi’s actions were in some ways honest and pure; he wanted Greymon to digivolve to the next level to help protect everyone. However, he still made a mistake in the way he displayed his courage. In the same way, regardless of the reasoning, we are making a mistaken form of love when we fail to hold those closest to us to the highest standard. Just as parents correct their children out of love, so too should we be correcting each other out of love. I know it’s hard to do, and even harder to convince others to follow suit. However, letting fellow Christians continue to make mistakes is not the kind of love we should be showing each other. Rather, we should judge because we love each other and because we only want what is best for each other. This is the real form of love we should show, but as long as we continue to ignore confronting fellow Christians, we also continue to ignore the Skullgreymon in the room.