Faith & Fandom
Bird Box: Covered Eyes
In the depths of the 2018 Christmas season while we were all
snuggled in our beds, Netflix dropped a movie. Apparently,
everyone and their mother (unless you are using your mom’s
account) watched it. In the first week alone, 45 million
accounts watched the movie. That’s not even mentioning the
flood of memes that engulfed the internet for weeks and
months to come. I tuned in primarily because Sandra Bullock
was my childhood celebrity crush and I needed a break from
binge watching Ducktales and anime with my kids.
The plot in a nutshell is this: one day, dark entities start
affecting humanity. Whenever you see them, it causes you to
face your darkest fears, feel unbearable regret, and soul
crushing sadness. Simply seeing them causes you to be
overwhelmed to the point that you quickly and violently take
your own life. The term bird box comes from the fact that birds
sense the presence of the forces and serve as a warning to the
surviving humans. As news reports confirm mass suicides and
deaths across the world, humanity as we know it comes to a
screeching halt. People hide in their homes or an assortment
of safe locations. While they remain there, they are basically
safe. The entities don’t enter dwellings or residences on their
own. The primary times you are attacked and are in danger are
when you go outside or simply look outside.
There were elements of the story that reminded me of The
Happening and others that reminded me of A Quiet Place.
While the book is its own original concept, I doubt the 45
million Netflix accounts that watched it in one week had read
the book first or even knew it existed. I enjoyed the movie and
many people, myself included, found it to have a deeper
meaning that just invisible monsters. Some people saw it as an
allegory for racism and social justice. Some saw it as a
depiction of how we turn a blind eye to mental illness. I saw
some things that spoke to me as well, and I hope that maybe
the things that spoke to me might speak to you.
The first thing that really spoke to me is that whatever you let
yourself see can be hurtful. Whatever you put in front of you
and whatever you choose to entertain can actually affect your
life. You ever hear the phrase, “I can’t un-see that?” It’s real.
You can’t un-see things.
Not everything you see will impact you the same, yet there are
images that will imprint on your mind that you thought were
harmless. The world is full of people trying to convince you to
look at and embrace products and ideas. In 2018, almost
$600,000,000,000.00 was spent on advertising worldwide.
Companies and organizations are desperately trying to put
images and narratives before your eyes because they know in
a matter of seconds, they can shift your opinion and desires.
We have to be careful of what we put in front of our eyes. We
can look at negative things any time we want. We have infinite
access to the darkest parts of creation. We all have access to
perversions, discouragements, toxicity, and any number of
damaging things in a variety of outlets. We have the most
destructive things to lay our eyes on that are just a click or a
swipe away than the average person saw in their entire
lifetime not just 40 years ago.
Accessibility to evil can’t be an excuse to entertain it. We have
to come to the point where we are guarding our eyes. We
become what we see and put in front of ourselves. If we aren't
intentionally cautious, we can bring reckless damage on our
hearts and lives.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are
healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your
eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of
darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how
great is that darkness!” - Matthew 6:22-23.
Jesus makes it clear that our eyes can fill our entire being with
darkness. One of the things you see frequently in Bird Box is
that when people see the creatures, their eyes visibly change.
They use the change in the eyes to show that the person has
now come fully under the effects of the darkness and that who
they were before has now become twisted.
When we lay our eyes on things that are hurtful, we are filling
our lives and hearts with damage. If we look at sinful things,
we fill ourselves with sin. If we look at things that give life and
are positive, we will be filled with life and the positive. Sadly,
our default is to look at darkness. We stare barely blinking with
our eyes wide open at things that corrupt our souls. Our eyes
act as the funnel for garbage in the process of our whole body
How much time daily do we spend viewing toxic things in front
of us with internet and social media? How much time in the
real world do we spend willingly putting ourselves in scenarios
where we are seeing things far darker than we need to
behold? I’m not saying we should walk through life
blindfolded, but there are times to entertain and times to look
away. Sometimes relationships we are in provide nothing but a
bird’s eye view of toxicity.
Bob Goff, in his book Everybody Always, has an illustration of
carrying a bucket around with you. He notes that the bucket
represents your life. Whatever you put in the bucket is what
you become. Your eyes are the opening of your bucket. What
are you filling your life with through your eyes? It is crucial to
be careful what we see and don’t see. We can’t hide from the
world, but we have to choose not just to view only darkness.
The Bible says God's Word is light and lamp. We have to make
sure we are balancing out the darkness we view with the light.
Living our lives blindfolded and hiding won’t work for us. We
have to balance.
David sets the example for this in Psalm 101:2-4,
“I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of
my house with a blameless heart. I will not look with
approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless
people do; I will have no part in it. The perverse of heart
shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what
This is the same dude who’s peeping on a lady lead to adultery,
the death of a child, and the murder of a spouse. He learned
those lessons the hard way. He knew how easily setting your
eyes on the wrong things could wreck your life. David made a
point not to look on things that will destroy him, and we need
to make the same assertion.
Let’s get back to the Bird Box. The crazy aspect of the story to
me is that the creatures didn’t come into homes. You had a
secure and safe space. All you had to do was to control what
you let in. Every time they let a toxic presence in their safe
space, it brought toxic downfall. We aren’t turning our homes
or grocery stores into fortresses, but it would be wise for us to
a create safe space in our hearts and lives. Our time with God
should be a safe place that we guard. We need a safe place
where we can be restored and refreshed. Time with loving and
encouraging friends and family should be a safe place. Those
safe places need to be somewhere that the damaging
elements of our lives aren’t attacking.
There are going to be people who encourage us to look at the
negative; you won’t be able to be in an emotionally or
spiritually safe place if those people are directly influencing
you. John Malkovich warned people repeatedly to not let
people into their safe place, but no one was listening. People
just thought he was being a selfish jerk (and for the record, he
was). Yet that selfishness had their safety in mind. Sometimes,
the ones who try to get you to let your guard down have good
intentions, but bad ideas. Guarding yourself isn’t a bad thing.
Keep in mind there is a huge difference between being
sheltered and being guarded. Sheltered means you don’t know
what’s actually happening in the world. Guarded means you
know it and protect against it.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do
flows from it.” - Proverbs 4:23.
Be careful of those who influence us not to be guarded. The
people who encourage us to not guard ourselves often are the
ones seeking to cause us harm, or at the very least are the
ones who have no reservation about watching us fall.
Throughout the story sight was ruled out as a viable and
trustworthy option for communication and guidance. One of
my favorite scenes in the film is the flashback where Sandra
Bullock is teaching Boy and Girl to listen through clicking rocks
together. She makes the sounds and trains them to listen and
follow. She taught them to listen because listening could save
their lives. However, just listening to random sounds alone
though wasn’t going to be enough. The creatures could
manipulate sound. They could make their voice sound just like
someone the kids trusted. They had to know what they heard
matched with what she taught.
Sometimes voices sound like trustworthy ones but lead us in
the wrong direction. Once they got off the rapids, they were
bombarded. Those kids were constantly being pressured to
remove their blindfolds and ignore what she had taught them.
They needed to know not only how to listen, but how to listen
for the truth.
Jesus makes this statement in John 10:27:
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they
Jesus is saying that His sheep know what He sounds like. His
people follow him. For a lot of us, we have a decent idea of
what God’s voice sounds like. Maybe it’s not an actual audible
experience, but we understand what it means for Him to lead
us. Many of us have felt in some profound ways what it felt like
to be guided by God and truth. Yet with so many other voices
surrounding us, it can be arduous to hear the truth.
There is a scientific concept called the “Noise Floor.” Noise
floor is the amount of noise that must be risen above or
overcome in order to be heard. There is a lot of distracting
noise in our life. It’s so easy to get distracted or miss God’s
voice altogether because of the spiritual noise floor where we
are. Just like with Boy and Girl when they were lost, there were
constant voices competing with Sandra’s. These voices were
familiar voices that made it hard for the kids to know what to
do. So many of us are listening to imposter voices because
they sound close enough to the truth to believe. Jesus said His
sheep listen to His voice, but coming from one of the easily
distracted sheep, it’s not always easy.
In the climactic scene in the woods, the creatures are using
Sandra’s voice to tell the kids to take off their blindfolds. They
are manipulating them with the familiar. They have to not only
hear the voice but know imitations. If you are listening to God,
His voice is never going to command you to do something that
goes against his Word in scripture. His voice is never going to
tell you to sin or go against what’s taught through His Word.
We can’t just listen for a kind voice, or a voice that tells us
what we want to hear. We have to listen for the voice that
gives us the truth.
I’ve had “friends” who have encouraged me to sin because it
was justified. I’ve had people I trusted as leaders guide me to
do things that were totally against the very goals we were
trying to accomplish because it was easier and more
convenient than actually obeying. Think about it — imitating
the truth is Satan’s longest running con. When Satan tempted
Adam and Eve, he twisted what God said and made them
question if they really understood what God had commanded.
When Satan tempted Jesus, he twisted God’s Word and used it
as a provocation for Jesus to go off course.
Our enemy twists what God says. He makes it close enough to
the truth to lead us away. Girl and Boy had a very convincing
adversary, but the only thing they could do is rely on what they
had been taught. Girl responded to their deceptions by asking,
“Isn’t it dangerous?” She responded knowing Sandra had
taught her better. Like Girl, we have to spot imitations. The
more often we are walking with Jesus, the easier it is to hear
His voice and identify imitations. He often speaks so much
softer than we are anticipating, Just as God spoke to Elijah.
“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in
the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass
by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains
apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the
Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an
earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not
in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face
and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then
a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1
Elijah knew He was going to need to listen for God, but he had
to be undaunted by the loud distractions. God was in the
gentle whisper. If he hadn’t been listening for it, Elijah would
have never heard it above the noise floor.
Two thoughts I want to leave with you.
#1: Guard yourself, your eyes, and your heart. Know that what
you allow inside you can affect you. Don’t allow yourself to be
filled with darkness.
#2: Learn how to listen. Don’t buy into the lies. Don’t allow
yourself to be so distracted you can’t hear the truth. Listen for
the voice you can trust that actually matches up with the truth.
#3 (This one is a bonus): Don’t let Sandra Bullock just be the
Bird Box lady. This woman drove an exploding bus, saved the
future with Stallone, floated hope, got Samuel L Jackson out of
Jail, lost a beauty pageant, gave Liam Neeson an enema,
rescued wayward football players, and so much more just to
be known as the lady on Netflix with a blindfold.