Every week The Walking Dead forces record audiences to wrestle with morality issues, which is probably why Talking Dead’s Chris Hardwicke read this question from a fan after this week’s episode, Isolation:
“It seems like everyone is losing loved ones. Do you think it’s important to care about people during a zombie apocalypse or is survival the only goal?”
Rick and Hershel seem to be wrestling with that very issue in this episode when Hershel insisted on risking his own life to go and care for the sick:
Rick: Hershel, if you go in there you’re gonna get sick.
Hershel: We don’t know that. What we do know is that these people’s symptoms need to be controlled.
Rick: Hershel, please! We can wait.
Hershel: Listen… You step outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water; you risk your life. And now days you breathe and you risk your life. Every moment now, you don’t have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for. Now I can make these people feel better and hang on a little bit longer. I can save lives. That’s reason enough to risk mine, and you know that.
Hershel puts on his mask and heads into the infected cell block to care for the sick.
The group’s compassion is slowly being transformed. Last season we saw them pass a helpless hitchhiker with no regard. Now, the group is beginning to let others in and risk their own lives to help people in need.
The show continues to provoke everyone to ask deep questions about morality. Even Marilyn Manson confessed this week, “I love that it’s a zombie show, but it’s essentially about morality.”
So what is the right response to the question asked above? Is it important to care for others even when it endangers our own life?
Here are some discussion questions about this week’s episode that help us process these deep issues.
SEASON 4, EPISODE 1 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
- This week we saw several of our favorite characters fighting to survive attacks from walkers. If you could only choose one of these characters to travel with in this post apocalyptic world, which one would you pick? Why?
- Why was Tyreese so slow to get up and get out of the car?
- Why is Hershel so compelled to help the sick?
- Why is Maggie so hesitant for him to help the sick in isolation, even though Glen is in there?
- Hershel talked about how in this world they don’t have much choice. Every choice they make, they seem to risk their lives. Then he says, “The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for.” Do you agree with Hershel?
- What would you do if you were Hershel, Maggie or Rick and you were wrestling with the moral decision of risking your life to help others?
Read the words of Jesus from the book of John:
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:34,35 NLT)
7. What does he command us to do in this verse?
8. What does Jesus say this love will do?
9. How does loving others prove we are disciples of Jesus?
Jesus paints a picture of what this looks like in his famous story of the sheep and the goats, describing exactly what we can do to show our love for Him:
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ (Matthew 25: 35-36, NLT)
At the end of this story, Jesus makes it clear who we are serving, when we help others:
‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25: 40, NLT)
10. According to Matthew 25:40, when we care for others, who are we doing it to?
11. What are situations in your life where you have to risk something to help others?
12. How can you reach out to others this week?
For more scripture on this subject, also read James 1:27, Deut 15:11, or Lev 19:10.