Well, I did it. I took the plunge like everyone else and watched 13 episodes of a show I knew damn well was going to hurt me like every time a read a john green book. (He’s so good at that.)
13 Reasons Why did exactly what Netflix does best and drew me into a binge-watching frenzy like so many other shows. But instead of being inundated by my favorite Sci-Fi show's geekery, or re-watching Sherlock for the 14th time hoping the fourth season will get uploaded soon.
I sat down for 13 hours of sheer and utter pain watching a girl slowly describe the knife of society and culture entering her heart.
And God damn it!
Damn the world that so accurately reflects the tragic beauty that this show projects.
Damn the rapist's that get away with it hiding behind drunken party antics.
Damn drunk drivers and how they can be our best friends prior to killing themselves behind the wheel and bottle of their choices.
Damn the gossiping hypocrites who trash the perfectly mundane lives of people who made mistakes like we all do.
And damn the 4-5 inches of plastic, glass, and metal that enables a tweet or an Instagram to embarrass and crush the social standing and heart of anyone below the age of majority. One even I, a 30 something man with a family and a savings account still seek approval from in my shame.
So then as I fought back the tears that usually only come out in the back end of a Pixar film, I realized God did damn everything I was mad at. In this terrible piece of beautiful fiction.
That like the pages of this tragic story, we are books just as worn and broken, ripped at the seams and tattered by the sins of others and ourselves. Written in the blood of our sins and their consequences. In need of something to make us clean again. To clear our tapes.
Nothing shone clearer, in 13 Reasons, than the darkness left in the wake of a film directed without the light of Christ to redeem and repair the brokenness inside its scenes. Jesus was horribly absent along with his youth pastors and sponsors from a school that was all too real. He was referenced by only one character in his admittance of being catholic. While grace was spoken in vain prayers for the food to bless the character's bodies, as their souls were being slowly destroyed.
God help me for the felt rage as a former youth pastor at just how far, some of these fictional characters, fell through the cracks of the adult’s care that was fictionally not there.
So if nothing else as you question whether or not to watch this monstrosity because it is, it’s a monster that rips at your heart and sensibilities, find a teen you have influence with.
Find a teen from age 10 to age 20 growing up in a world so booby-trapped by the online world and so broken by sin's stains it needs a savior.
And love them. Like Clay Jensen wishes he could have.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 (ESV)