The new Netflix original series “Thirteen Reasons Why” is blowing up everywhere. Based on a book by Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why centralizes around the suicide of a 17-year-old high schooler, Hannah, and her audio suicide note
From episode one, I was hooked. There are so many real life scenarios that teens and adults face these days. But instead of looking at it like it was revolutionary information, I turned to the scriptures that support these themes that the bible has been telling us for centuries.
Love Your Neighbor
Throughout the whole story, the characters are just plain hateful. And because of their lack of love for their fellow classmates, another scar is added to their peers’ already cracked surfaces. The bible specifically tells us “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:31
If for one second these characters would have stopped to put themselves in their peers’ shoes, this heart breaking end would’ve been different. Think about all of the times arguments would have gone differently if someone would have just considered what you were going through.
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” – 1 Peter 3:8
The escalation of every event in this story boils down to unforgiveness. Every character here, as it is in real life, is guilty of some mistake. Their refusal to forgive one another builds towards broken friendships and death. The bible tells us in Matthew 6:15 that if we don’t forget others, God will not forgive us. “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Can you imagine being punished for every mistake you have ever made? From accidentally breaking a pencil to breaking a heart? 13 Reasons Why is a realistic depiction of unforgiveness and the calamity it brings.
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
Accountability and Reputation
Almost everyone in this story passed the buck, even down to Hannah blaming everyone for her suicide. Each character has done something wrong whether it was an accident or not. The characters lack of acceptance of their own faults add to Hannah’s pain and the impossible resolution of the problem. But in the end, everyone will be held accountable for their words and actions.
“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:36 – 37
In life, when we constantly blame others for our mistakes, or refuse to even accept we did something wrong, we only ruin our reputation. We then become the liar or the untrustworthy friend as we see the characters become in this story.
“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1
We always have a decision. We always have the ability to do the right thing. This pressure of decisions is seen throughout the entire story line. As it is in real life, each of these characters had the opportunity to say NO and be different. God always provides a way out from any situation. The bible tells us we will never be tested beyond what we can bear. And that is exactly what these characters chose to ignore.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31
Pretty self-explanatory right? The best way to avoid conflict is to treat others as yourself. Would you slander or humiliate yourself? Chances are, the answer is no. So why do we as a society feel that it is a necessary part of life to bring each other down?
Not one person in this entire story worked to uplift their peer. They treated each other like diseases and just hoped they’d eventually disappear.
We see the butterfly effect throughout this story. One bad thing happens and caused another and another and another. One person lies, then another cheats, then another hides the truth and eventually someone dies. I pray that your consequences will never be so dire but for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. No sin goes unnoticed and God allows us to experiences these consequences in order for us to grow.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” – Galatians 6:7-8
It all started with one rumor. One little fib that was multiplied and morphed into an incorrect label. This story is the definition of how gossip can ruin a life. Have you ever made a statement that was not entirely true? When it go back to you was it something you’d like to be remembered for?
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29
Gossip is hurtful and easy to fall into. If you are not a part of the problem or the solution, it’s gossip and you have no place being a part of the conversation.
Love Your Enemy
“But love our enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35
Sometimes there is no line between friend and foe, but Jesus calls us to love those who persecute and hurt us. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).” When you choose to be loving towards someone who despises you, you are giving God an opportunity to revive their stone heart.
The characters in this story sought revenge instead and every time it ended badly. Think about the times you’ve been wronged. What would the outcome be if you hadn’t reacted but allowed God to work instead?
“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32
Most of the pain caused in this story is the characters inability to share the truth. Like a block of cement, their secrets weighed them down to the point of death. This scripture doesn’t just mean to be honest, it physically means that God is truth and he will set you free. Truth breaks all the chains the world tries to put on us and delivers us to everlasting life.
In no way do I knock what Asher has done with this story. These real life issues need to be addressed because they shouldn’t exist. Maybe stories like this will be a wake up call for society to pay attention to each other and really embrace what The Beatles proclaimed from rooftops, “Love is all you need. “