We are surrounded with images devised to stimulate our senses and desensitize our minds. Cartoons, video games, movies and even commercials are filled with impure imagery that most of us are accustomed to and many accept as the norm.
In our home, it all started with the Grinch. You know, the one who stole Christmas back in 1966. Just the cover was enough to scare my son away and make him vow he would “never” watch such a show. I thought it was silly at first. Who hasn’t watched the Grinch and loved it? But then the Lord convicted me: “I want his mind pure. Don’t ever force him into watching something he doesn’t want to watch. I want him yielding to My Spirit, not yours.” That was three years ago. And the lesson continues.
I recently started pulling out some of the classic cartoon movies I grew up with. To me, they conjured up nostalgic feelings of childhood when anything was possible. To Zechariah, many of them had quite the opposite effect. The little portion we watched of Alice in Wonderland haunted him for days (even after fast forwarding through every scene with the Cheshire cat and Queen of Hearts). A quarter of Bambi was spent with hands covering eyes. And let’s not even talk about that giant pickle from Veggie Tales who has shown up in my son’s nightmares for years.
I know it sounds comical. But is my son really just being a baby who needs to grow up? Or is the Lord teaching him something that perhaps we all need to learn?
We rarely watch television but when we do, it’s impossible to not have a show interrupted by at least one, and often numerous, commercials that are trying to use provocation to lure us into something we don’t need. Upcoming show previews promoting sex and homicide are laced into even the friendliest family programs. It is usually right before bedtime that Zechariah will tell me what he saw and the fear that a tiny two-second clip produced.
We process and pray. Then read our Bible and fall asleep with worship music playing to focus our minds on the things above. We talk about the options we have to close our eyes, walk away or turn off anything that gives us that dark feeling we know is not from God. I’m proud at the times my son has been able to say in retrospect, “I wish I wouldn’t have watched that, Mommy,” or been brave enough in the moment to ask if we can turn it off if he perceives it’s not of God.
I want to be better in that area for myself. The Bible says that our eye is the lamp of our body. If our eyes are healthy, we will be filled with light; but if our eyes are unhealthy, we will be filled with darkness. Intentionally taking in with our eyes even the briefest of darkness plants seeds within that can flood our hearts, torment our minds and begin to pull us away from the purity of God. The world wants to contaminate but God wants to cleanse. Let’s ask for His Spirit to prompt and convict so that we too can stand strong and be brave enough to walk away from the Cheshire cats, grinches, giant pickles or any other image that could be used to torment our souls. We may not have the purity of a child of age seven, but we can still be a pure child of God. It just takes standing our ground, one temptation at a time.