In a recent sermon at our church, our minister made the statement that darkness not only hinders sight, it causes blindness. I wrote that statement down so I could ponder it later, knowing that my over-forty brain wouldn’t remember it until I got home. Later, it came to me that I had once learned about a type of fish that originated in the dark caves of Central America, and that no longer had eyes to see because they had lived in total darkness for so long. Their bodies had adapted to the darkness all around them, and done away with a sense that was deemed useless. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that we, as Christians, are also living surrounded by darkness, just of a spiritual type rather than a physical one.
We are surrounded every day by images, music, advertisements and temptations that are the antithesis of the holy life we are supposed to live as Christians. Turn on the TV for just a few minutes and you will be appalled at the immoral messages being conveyed during prime family time. If the shows don’t disgust you, just wait for the commercials! As I was watching one of the few acceptable shows left on TV with my children tonight, we had to loudly cover up a commercial that was definitely inappropriate for little ears (and maybe mine, too!). I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems as if the boundaries are pushed farther and farther from what is pure every year. I remember as a child, my parents were very strict about what we were allowed to see on TV. While all my friends were watching “MASH” and “Three’s Company” and other such sitcoms, we were prohibited. My parents were very vigilant about what went into our minds and hearts, and for that I will be eternally grateful. What scares me is that now those shows would be considered very innocuous and innocent compared to today’s offerings, such as “90210” or “Sex in the City” or “Desperate Housewives”. Looking back, I can see that the darkness has gotten darker…and I fear for our vision as Christians and as parents. My husband and I have discussed how we constantly discover things that are in our worldview (how we perceive the world and right and wrong) that conflict with God’s teachings, yet we were unaware because they were so skillfully and deceptively introduced into our lives.
I fear that we have become numb to what is acceptable and holy in God’s eyes. Are we protecting our children from the darkness, or do we just say, “Well, that’s just how the world is…I can’t do anything about it.” Are we becoming blind to Satan’s tactics to win our children’s hearts? My husband and I have tried valiantly to protect our children from the world’s influence. We carefully monitor the movies, books and entertainment that enter our home. We homeschool our children so we can educate them in a God-honoring environment. We refuse to buy clothing for our children that we deem to be immodest or disrespectful. But is this enough? How do we counter a culture that is saturated with darkness?
There is only one answer...the only thing that drives darkness away is light, and the Bible tells us that Jesus is the light that shines on the “land of the shadow of death” (Isaiah 9:2, Matt. 4:16). It isn’t enough to simply shield our children from the darkness; we must also lead them to the light and teach them how to battle the darkness. As our children have gotten older, we have not just protected them from the world, but taught them how to deal with it. We often will discuss with them what we see or what we read in newspapers and ask them what they think of it and how they think God views it. We look at Scripture together to see what a Biblical worldview looks like and teach them how to deal with temptation and peer pressure. We are not naïve—we know our children will have to face living in the world as adults. We would be doing them an injustice if we simply sheltered them all of their childhood and then turned them loose in the world. Our vision for our kids is bigger than that…we want to raise world-changers, not world-avoiders.
I challenge you to think carefully about what you allow into your home. Take the time to talk to your children about the things that they see and experience and help them to develop eyes that see the world through God’s perspective. Evaluate your own worldview, and make sure it lines up with God’s word. Don’t be surprised if you find things of the world that have permeated your life…you are living in a land of darkness, and spiritual darkness causes spiritual blindness. Ask God to show you anything in your life or in your children’s lives that needs to change, and ask Him for the strength to do so. Decide to stand firm against the culture, even if it leads to judgment or ridicule from others. Don’t be like those fish…wait too long or be too indifferent to the world’s influence, and you, too, will lose your sense of vision.
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