Will We Be Willing To Give Up Television?
The conditions in Sodom and Gomorrah were so wicked that the Lord destroyed them with brimstone and fire. (Genesis 19) It was the mercy of God that saved Lot and his family from being destroyed in the destruction. Lot's wife disobeyed the instructions of the angels who told the family not to look back and the two daughters of Lot committed incest with him in the mountains. Reading the story of Lot is not a happy one. As a family, they were destroyed in many ways. It all began when Lot "pitched his tent toward Sodom," (Genesis 13:12) and then when he moved into the city in the midst of the wickedness. Peter reminds us that Lot was a "righteous man" and his soul was "vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked." (2 Peter 2:6-8) The real challenge in the story of Lot is why he never left the city and remove his family out of the filthy conversation that was all around him. There may be an answer to that question in our own lives today.
Television has become one of the (if not the) most influential force in our lives. We live by it, we get our news by it, we enjoy the entertainment it brings us and we are able to see things never seen before. There is (or used to be) many good things to say about television but those days are quickly fading into a distant memory. More and more what comes across the screen can be characterized by what Peter describes in 2 Peter 2:7 - "filthy conversation of the wicked." The real challenge the people of God face - those who Peter describes as "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9) - is how to maintain being a chosen people, the royalty of our priesthood, a people that seek holiness in our lives and show how peculiar we are to God - and watch television.
Consider what is found on television on any channel. 'Sex and the City' is coming to TBS (rated TVMA on HBO), Ellen Degenerate now has her own prime time talk show on CBS, Rosie ODonnell is flaunting her sexual immorality (her lesbian partner was interviewed by Barbara Walters), filthy language is common place, masturbation is highlighted on 'The 70's Show,' nudity is shown on prime time shows on many channels (some have those little black bars or blockers to hide various parts which does little to hide very much), cartoons exalt sexual immorality, and many commercials show men and women in underclothing, the "natural bra," women taking showers (soap and body wash commercials) and drugs that will enhance sexual intercourse or enlarge parts of male bodies - and there is much, much more - and you and I know that.
Let's go back to Lot in the city of Sodom. Why did he never leave the city when he saw how wicked the city had become? His righteousness did not change the world about him and in the end he lost his wife, his two daughters and his good name because he did not leave the "filthy conversation of the wicked" that was everywhere around him. We complain about how bad television has become and how terrible the things are that we see and hear and yet we still own three or four of them and even spend thousands of dollars for the newest design and hundreds of dollars each year for cable, satellite and movies.
I know the age old answer is to turn the television off and that advice still holds value but if we are more honest with what we see and hear - the television will rarely be turned on. Maybe that is the problem we have in understanding television - being really honest with what to do with it. Do we have a choice? Have we convinced ourselves that we cannot live without it? Psalm 101:3. "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." Should this apply to the programs on television or the television itself? I wonder. Maybe we should do what they did in Acts 19:19. Imagine the amount of money we would discover. Imagine the minds that would be free from the influence of the box that has become the family altar. Imagine life without television.
By Kent Heaton
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