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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My thanks to the posters from yesterday, particularly the one who asked the question for further explanation. I always welcome the opportunity to dig further in conversations about what I write on here. Just glad the comments are continuing to stir this kind of dialogue. (And, no, you weren't rude. It's a legitimate question)
For those of you who have not seen the comment, the reader simply asked why it was bad to watch some of the shows mentioned in yesterday's blog as long as you know what you believe. Again, a great question.
Let me start with a verse that I used to challenge my teenagers when I was in student ministry.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23 NIV
This is just one of many instances where God's word challenges us to be careful about what we let into our hearts. Some of you who grew up in church as a child may have sung the little children's song "Be careful little eyes what you see." This song and verse (along with many others) speak to the reality that the things that come into our hearts are the things that "spill" out at later dates. In computer terms, we use the phrase "Garbage in, garbage out."
From a more positive view point, the reverse is true. The Bible is filled with this type of encouragement:
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 NIV
It would seem that there is a heavy emphasis on this undeniable truth...we become what we watch, read and listen to.
Now, after saying all that, let me assure you that my blog yesterday was not a judgment of others. I truly believe that your decision to watch a show or a movie or listen to a song comes down to your personal decision before God. The problem is, most of us have a higher opinion of our ability to stand than we should. On the other hand, we deny our proclivity to sin and always believe that it "won't affect us." I could give you a hundred examples: the alcoholic that denies that the first drink was what hooked him, the teen who only smoked for fun to wind up hooked on even tougher drugs, the stay at home mom who cannot turn off the trashy content of soap operas or the young adult who will tell you the words of many of those "harmless" songs led them to poor lifestyle choices. We ALWAYS believe we can withstand more than we can.
Here's the principle I really want us to take away from the Scripture: why mess with sin? I used to talk with teens a great deal about sex and purity. Inevitably the question would come up from Christian teens, "How far is too far?" What they were really asking is, "What can I get away with and still be okay with God?" The correct question should have been, "What do I do to stay as pure as possible before a God who expects that from me?"
Apply that to my media blog of yesterday. Most of us (and I fall into the same trap myself. Again, I'm not standing in judgment. Just trying to guide us all to good answers) ask, "How much trash can I allow into my heart and still be good for God?" The correct question should be, "What do I do to stay pure and holy for God?"
Every single night, many of us invite murders, liars, adulterers, thieves, slanderers, atheists, etc. into our households and expose our children to the same. That's not what God wants for us. Not one of us would drive our families down to the seediest parts of town, unload the car on the street corner and eat a bag of popcorn while we watched prostitution, drug deals, murders, etc. So why do we pay the cable company to bring it into the comfort of our home? Does that somehow purify it for our viewing?
Let me end today (I know it's been long) by asking this legitimate question. So many Christians "defend" their right to choose what they watch, read and listen to. How would our churches and our country be different if we fought equally as hard for our right to read the Word on a daily basis and talk about it in our streets? Just food for thought. Hope it's worth chewing on.

2 comments:

Diana said...

Ridley,
Sometimes I think passion gets confused with prejuduce or judgement. Neither of which I saw. I have yet to see a post that is just fluff. Everything you write has meaning and tied to God, which is where your passion is. Could you imagine if the world had that as their passion as well.

My favorite thought today was the last, about how the churches and country would be different.

We would have passion for the reverence of God Himself, His Words, and His purpose for us. That alone could change if we all looked in the mirror and understand what true accountability is.

Let Christian’s defend their stance here on Earth, it isn’t going to matter! What will matter is when they stand in front of God and look into the eyes of the One who loves us the most and they try to explain that they knew that their faith in Him was secure so it was a harmless show. I wonder what God is going to say back, don’t you?

Michael said...

I enjoy reading your posts because you cause me to think and dig deeper. Thanks!

My wife used to be the Youth Sunday School teacher at our church. One Sunday she baked some brownies and took them to church. She told the youth they could have as many as they wanted, but she did warn them that one of the ingredients was a small amount of dog "poo." NO ONE took a brownie. Why was that? Of course, it was because there were not willing to consume “poo.”

What would happen if we were more diligent about what we consumed (eating, watching, reading, etc.)? What if we lived to the same standard that we require of our children? If our children cannot eat it, why should we? If our children cannot watch it, why should we? If our children cannot read it, why should we? Look, we can eat as much as we want, watch anything we want, and read anything we want, however, be warned lots of these things include at least a small amount of “poo.” How much “poo” are we willing to consume?

Thanks for challenging me to watch what I consume.