This week Joseph and John worked alongside a number of other men pouring the basement floor of our house. The owner of the business doing the concrete work is saved and had asked if our boys could help because he was shorthanded. He said he had also spoken with his men, and they would be careful of their language. It wasn’t something I would consider for any great length of time, but for a portion of a day and considering I’d be around some of the time, I agreed.
At one point while I was observing the progress of the work, one of the men spoke with me briefly. He was very complimentary of the boys and asked what we had done to raise boys like that. I said there were three very important aspects in our child raising. First and foremost is the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives. Second is the Word of God. Third is that the children don’t watch any TV or movies.
He looked at me and said, “Now that is pretty incredible. No TV! It makes sense though.” This man is a believer and knows many young men who are believers. He saw something different in our boys. I’m the first to say that we are nothing special. However, removing bad influences from children is very important so as not to quench the Word working in their lives.
Sunday I had another conversation, and it was somewhat similar. I was speaking with a gentleman who has lived a few more years than I have. He expressed his concern regarding how worldly some believers were that he had had contact with the previous week. His heart was deeply grieved about it, and he wondered why our children weren’t like that.
I had roughly the same explanation for him. When I attributed credit to the Lord Jesus, being in the Word daily, and NO TV, he started scratching his chin and said that had to be it. He began comparing his now-grown children and evaluating a period of time when he didn’t have a TV to later in life when he did. He said he could see a remarkable difference, now that he was thinking about it.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places” (Numbers 33:50-52). As I read this passage recently, I noticed how the Lord was very specific in His instructions for when they conquered Canaan. They were to drive out the inhabitants, destroy their pictures, their idols, and places of idol worship.
Pictures are very powerful in how they can influence, and God said the Israelites were to get rid of the pictures. God knew the effect it would have on the Israelites, and that is why the pictures were to be destroyed. Those pictures would have been nothing compared to the sizzle of today’s TV programs. Yet God said to destroy them because He wanted to protect His children from being pulled to the world.
That is why my heart breaks for families who choose to watch TV or movies and think that it won’t harm them. Our world is in love with flesh, and today’s clothing is designed to show off as much as possible. From my discussions with parents, immodesty is pandemic in the churches. Why is there not an outcry about it? I’m confident it is because that is what is being portrayed on TV, and since that is the norm, everyone is willing to accept it. If the immodesty was to go beyond what was on TV, then there would be an outcry, but as long as it goes no further, it is accepted.
A while ago, I had another startling reminder of the power of influence. I had some interactions with a few young, homeschooled adults whom I had not seen in years. Previously, they had been conservative in their dress and behavior. Yet, their appearance and actions had now changed drastically, and in my opinion, were very worldly. How could this be? It is all about the influence in their lives.
For these young people, it had to do with the others with whom they were interacting. The change didn’t happen overnight, but in time, they had begun to look like their friends. We can be sure that our children are going to want to emulate those by whom they are impressed.
TV, subtly but definitively, grabs the hearts of our children. That is one reason why the TV is such a powerful influence. There is a reason why advertisers spend billions of dollars for TV ads. They work! They influence the people who watch the commercials. The same is true regarding the TV shows themselves. Children identify with certain stars and then want to wear similar clothes (or unclothes), adopt similar hairstyles, and model their speech and actions. The parents then wonder what happened to their child. Why does the child no longer listen to Mom and Dad?
As we travel we meet families who are not worldly, and their lives radiate the Lord Jesus. I haven’t asked every one of them, but for those I’ve asked, they don’t watch TV or movies. Is it a coincidence? I don’t think so. Getting the Beast out of the home is a wonderful first step, and it will take courage. With the Beast out, it is important that you are in the Word as a family every day. Structure your evening around your time in the Word. It will become the best time of the day.
Be cautious even if you don’t watch TV and movies in your family because, vicariously, through friends who do watch it, your children can be pulled to the world’s standards for clothing, entertainment, attitudes, and heart focus. If you have chosen to eliminate the influence of a TV in your home, but your children are spending time with those who are following the world’s path, they may still be significantly moved that way as well.
Balaam couldn’t curse the Israelites (Numbers 23:11), but he wreaked havoc on them by suggesting the Moabite woman lure the Israelite men away. “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD” (Numbers 31:16). Seeking pleasure did what an army couldn’t do. In Numbers 25 we see that 24,000 Israelites were killed by plague because they followed after the Moabite women and were led into idolatry.
In the same way today, the children of the King, those who are to reach the world for Jesus, have been effectively slain or hamstrung so that there is no power. TV and the worldly, entertainment mindset it promotes, such as Super Bowl games, pizza parties, bowling parties, ski trips, lock-downs, and movies, have won the hearts of God’s people. Yes, Balaam rides again.