Friday, November 16, 2007

Numb to Sin

(Repeating the Vantage Point column from 4/9/2000. Seven and a half years later this still applies as things are even worse in this arena.)

Christians used to be concerned about the entertainment industry being morally on the edge, and worried that young believers would be tempted to dabble in questionable pastimes. That concern is now a thing of the past. Entertainment has blatantly gone over the edge and is pushing the envelope further daily, while many believers have plunged full-force into the deadly whirlpool.

I used to be somewhat na├»ve, thinking there was no way Christians would wallow in such filth. But my eyes were opened in the ’80s when a college-aged parishioner in the church I pastored told my wife, Peggy, that he went to R-rated movies. "What about the profanity?" she asked.

"You get to where you don’t notice it," was his reply.

That’s a problem. Numb to sin. Those words — and images — become a part of your subconscious and poison your spiritual walk. Dulled spiritual senses get to where they are not jolted by obvious sin. Could this lead to what Paul spoke about — having a "conscience seared with a hot iron" (1 Timothy 4:2)?

Christians are supposed to be different. "Come out ... be separate" (2 Corinthians 6:17). How can Christians justify going to R-rated movies when even most PG and PG-13 films are objectionable? We recently got a letter from a parent who purchased an E-rated ("appropriate for everybody") video game for her young child. Passing his room she was stunned to hear a curse word from the game. We can’t trust the industry to police itself or believe in their ratings.

And why would a believer have cable movie channels — or watch TV sitcoms? Commercials alone can make you feel like you’re swimming in a cesspool. (Try muting them.)

How does filling our minds with this stuff jibe with the holiness of Romans 12:2 or the pure mind of Philippians 4:8? Eventually we get to Matthew 12:34, where the mouth speaks from what’s in the heart.

Do we seriously think we can lift up "holy hands" on Sunday when those hands have been channel surfing through the vile, the degraded and the ungodly all week?

I’ve seen people go through ridiculous contortions to justify their vice. Ask yourself the following about anything you’re thinking of watching: "Would I be comfortable watching this with my pastor — or with Jesus?" No? Then turn it off.

Why do we see so little revival? Why are so many Christians poverty-stricken spiritually? Often we need look no further than the entertainment they absorb.

If you really want revival — or a closer walk with God — you had better be prepared to take a brutally honest inventory of your viewing habits — and give some things up. If you fill that void with wholesome pastimes and more of seeking after God, you’ll see a change. Guaranteed.

—Ken Horn

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