Do you remember what it was like to fly before smoking was banned on airplanes? It was horrible. Breathing recycled air was bad enough without having to endure second-hand smoke. Of course, the airlines provided a smoking “section”: smokers were confined to the back five rows. Unfortunately, the smoke was not. This concept was about as effective as putting a 747 beside a pulpit during a church service and revving the engines, while a sign advises that the noise should be confined to the front five pews.
Don’t ever be deceived into thinking that you can allow the pollution of the world to enter your home and not contaminate your family. You won’t be able to confine it. Someone emailed me an article by Jeremy Archer in which he spoke of having allowed some worldly guests to enter his home. While their behavior was questionable, they entertained his family, and he justified the friendship by saying that Jesus was accused of being a friend of sinners. Sometimes the conversations revolved around drinking, violence, drugs, the occult, sex, theft, lying, and other vices. But he said that they justified it because it was all discussed in an entertaining manner.
“Don’t ever be deceived into thinking that you can allow the pollution of the world to enter your home and not contaminate your family.”
Their guests were having a growing influence on his family. As time passed, the behavior grew worse. Then people began partying, making obscene gestures, and even started having sex right in front of him and his family. As I read the article I remember thinking, How could he let this happen…in front of his family! How could he be looking at them! Then I read the final words of the article. He concluded, “Together we turned off the television.” 1
Be in Control
So many professing Christians allow their families to be polluted in the name of entertainment. Some Christians, realizing how their children are being affected, get rid of the TV altogether. Others learn the art of self-control, and then control the remote control. Whatever you do, be in control. If you have the liberty to watch television, make sure you watch only that which is governed by Philippians 4:8:
…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Even then, you may leave your kids watching a wholesome program, but the inserted advertisements may be filthy. So be extra careful that the world doesn’t corrupt them through this means. When the mud flows, shut the door.
The world says that you can’t shelter your children from wickedness. While that may be true, you can certainly give it a good try. What sort of parents would let their children roam around outside knowing that vicious dogs were loose in the area? It’s your responsibility to protect them. That doesn’t mean your children become monks in a monastery. It simply means that, as their parents, you keep them away from those things that you know will harm them. God sees innocence as a virtue, not a vice, so keep your children innocent toward that which is evil (Romans 16:19).
Even those things that seem good may have harmful effects. For example, it was because of my own moral convictions that I had to turn down a friend’s request for a commendation on a video he had produced. It was a powerful exposé on the subject of rock music. He not only revealed the evil behind the music, but he used the Ten Commandments as a schoolmaster to bring sinners to the Savior. It was wonderful.
The problem was, when he got to the Seventh Commandment, he showed how sexually explicit rock musicians were. I wrote him a letter saying:
We have the most tender of folks using our material. Recently a father wrote to us and said that his 13-year-old son confessed to him that he was tempted in the area of lust, when he watched one of our videos. It was a two-second scene of a woman wearing shorts and a bikini top. His father said that it may seem trivial to us, but he was thrilled (and rightly so) that his Christian son had such a tender conscience. He asked that we remove the piece, and in light of Paul’s not eating meat if it caused his brother to stumble, we removed it.
I realize that you have a dilemma in wanting to show how sexually explicit rock music has become, but even at my age I had to look away a number of times, because my heart is so wicked.
I’m sorry I can’t put my name to it. The production itself is excellent.
God instructs us to set nothing wicked before our eyes (Psalm 101:3), and to not do anything that would cause anyone—especially a child—to stumble. Are you careful to monitor the types of entertainment that come into your home?
That includes keeping a very close watch on the music you allow your children to have—even professed Christian music. Much of it simply comes from the world’s musicians who have seen big bucks in gospel music. They have tossed a few clichés and the name of Jesus into their music, and naïve Christians buy into it and let their children feed on it.
“God instructs us to set nothing wicked before our eyes (Psalm 101:3), and to not do anything that would cause anyone—especially a child—to stumble. Are you careful to monitor the types of entertainment that come into your home?”
Most kids spend several hours a day being influenced by television and music. One way to keep your children from spending much time indulging in questionable entertainment is to give them responsibilities around the home. This will also prepare them for the real world that they will have to face. My daughter and her husband use family devotions to teach their children responsibilities such as how to make guests welcome in the home, how to answer the phone politely, how to always keep a godly attitude—to honor the Lord in all of life’s circumstances.
Also be aware of the types of friends your children have. If they are from non-Christian families, make sure your kids are influencing them with the gospel, rather than them influencing your children with the things of the world. Peer pressure can greatly sway kids when it comes to musical tastes, fashions, attitudes toward drugs, sex, etc. This is why you need a good, communicative relationship with them. Ask your children what their friends talk about and what they believe. Pray with them for their friends’ salvation.
Remember, it is the Christian parents’ responsibility to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Be sure you protect your children from all ungodly influences—both inside your home and out.
Excerpted from How to Bring Your Children to Christ…& Keep Them There.