Guarding Hearts–A Real-Life Situation

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).

Last week we went to our favorite zoo, which is located in Omaha. It is a special day for everyone, and even our young adults will take a day off work to go with us. This trip was especially a close time as we were in the process of losing our ninth child to miscarriage.

At the end of a wonderful day, we were dropping off the wheelchair that I borrowed to push Teri around. I noticed two documentary videos on Mount Everest in the gift shop. I have a special interest in mountain climbing and thought this would be an excellent addition to our educational video library. It also turned out that one of them was the same footage as was being shown in the Imax Theater. After a little hesitation, I decided to go ahead and purchase them.

When the little ones were in bed, I chose to preview the videos, so we carried the TV and VCR out of the downstairs closet. To my amazement, the opening scene began in a temple where one of the climbers was lighting candles. Ugh! My heart then began to twinge a bit under conviction, and that should have been enough to stop it right there. However, the mental excuses and gymnastics began as I thought of the thirty dollars I had paid for this one. Besides, there probably wouldn’t be any more problems with the video (Sure!).

The story unfolded with occasional remarks about his god, temple footage, and other Eastern religion information. To my shame, I didn’t turn it off, but continued watching it with the three oldest children. I failed those children! I should have stopped it right then and said, “No more, we must turn it off. This isn’t worth compromising our hearts.” However, I wanted to watch it! Therefore, we finished the first video, and we started the second tape. This one was about high-altitude effects on the body. By this time I was feeling quite convicted. Then, out of the blue, the guy being interviewed cursed. That was enough to push me over the edge and turn it off. Why hadn’t I chosen to stop watching it earlier?

In the last few Dad’s Corners, I emphasized the fact that God places all the responsibility for everything that goes on in the home on “dear ole Dad.” The sad thing is that I am often the cause of the problems. When I’m struggling with self-control, I can expect to see lack of self-control in my children. We are the shepherds guarding the access to the sheep pen. It is true that every evil imagination, which is similar to improper appetites, does come from the heart. However, we then can guard whether these appetites are fed or not.

The sad fact was, if I had chosen to stop watching the video earlier, my older children would have seen that their father was very careful to guard his heart and their hearts. They would have seen that, even in a situation where Dad wants to continue, he is man enough to deny himself. That was one of those rare opportunities that don’t come around often. We are teaching our children in everything we do. I showed them that if it is something that interests you, it is okay to continue. I failed!

Life is so full of opportunities to train our children in the way of righteousness. We must see that as our responsibility. We should protect our heart first, and then our children’s. Otherwise we teach them that once you are old enough to be in control, you can use that control for selfish purposes and choose to “enjoy” evil at the expense of righteousness. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).