Black Friday and Dark Hearts

“Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., is called that because it usually allows retailers to go into the black. But this year, the early morning shopping frenzy turned deadly. A Walmart employee was trampled to death by New York shoppers who broke down the door before dawn, anxious to get into the store and get their hands on the sale merchandise.

The next day, the Dallas Morning News carried a short story providing analysis of why shoppers turned into killers.

  • Fear of being unable to afford gifts drives shoppers to shop competitively
  • The urge to snap up discounts can cause people to abandon their normal behavior
  • When people are jostled in a crowd, their personal space is shattered, resulting in loss of individual judgment
  • Individual identity can become erased, and one becomes part of the crowd
  • People’s frustration at things like linecutting and being denied access to a big sale flares into rage

Interesting suggestions, these psychological profiles. But something’s missing.

Sin. And the nasty ugliness of unfettered flesh.

God has His own explanation:

Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you? You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3)

And perhaps the scariest part of that horrendous killer stampede at the Walmart is that every single one of us is equipped with the same nasty, ugly, unredeemable flesh. But for the grace of God, those shoppers could have been us.

Could have been me.

Which is why we all need a Savior.

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor. She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions. Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.


  • Sharifa Stevens

    The Walmart incident was a

    The Walmart incident was a horrifying example of how lust makes its twisted work complete. And how self-centered desire destroys.

    And that just because everybody’s doing the same thing (i.e., shoving, pushing, and trampling), doesn’t mean it’s right.

    Scares me what I’m capable of without the hedge of the Holy Spirit (or when I choose to ignore His prompting).

    • Heather A. Goodman

      My thoughts exactly
      Looking at that list, I see pride and greed. And isn’t that what festers in me? Thank God (literally) for the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Sue Bohlin

    Flesh :::shudder:::

    Thanks, guys, for your responses. I think incidents like this reveal how truly disgusting and ugly our flesh is, and they show the wisdom of the scriptures about it: why Paul says that in his flesh dwells no good thing, that the flesh profits nothing and that when we are "in the flesh" we cannot please God,

Leave a Reply