Sometimes the most sublime truths can be stated in the simplest ways. We have a song that is often sung in our children’s classes and vacation bible schools: “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.” The song continues and speaks about being careful about what we hear, say, do and where we go. Moreover, it is certainly a Biblical principle that we ought to abstain from the lusts of the world (1 John 2:15-17). One of those lusts is “the lust of the eyes.” So, it comes as no surprise to Christians that a recent study done by the RAND Corporation shows that there is a strong connection between teens who watch and listen to sex and sexual talk on television and teens who choose to engage in sexual activity. The study, published in the September issue of Pediatrics, found that teens that watched and listened to sex and sexual situations on television were TWICE as likely to have sex within the next year as teens not exposed to such. To put it in real numbers, one out of every two teens who watch such on television will end up behaving that way.
Gospel preachers and Bible teachers have been sounding the warning regarding the dangers of television for years now. How is it that they have had advanced information on this subject without the benefit of the RAND Corporation’s study? Simply put, the Bible has told us plainly that we are what we think. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” If we allow evil into our heart through the influence of television, then we will allow evil into our life as well. Notice also Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he�.” We are what we think; if we allow evil things to permeate our thoughts, then our ways will be evil as well. Finally, we note what Jesus said on this topic, “But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings: these are the things which defile the man�” (Matthew 15:18-20).
Now, if television can have such a significant affect on the lives of teens when it comes to sex, what about other matters? What about drinking alcohol? What about smoking or using tobacco? What about cursing and using God’s name in vain? What about lying and cheating to get ahead? What are the numbers on these other areas of morality that don’t require a physical encounter with another person, but simply a thought, word, or careless action? My guess would be that the percentage is a lot higher.
When are we going to wake up and realize that we are destroying ourselves with our own devices? Television and movies have an enormous reaching power in our country. They ought to be used for good, not for evil. We saw how television could be used for evil at this past year’s Superbowl half-time fiasco. Voices of good and decent folks around the country were heard in opposition to that filthy display. But it isn’t single events like the Superbowl half-time show that move the hearts and minds of television viewers to practice what they see. It is the litany of daily barrages in the “soaps,” “sit-coms” and evening “dramas” that affect us most. And as long as we allow the television networks to continue to promote such godless activities in our own living rooms, the more debased, degenerate and destroyed we will become as a people. Awake to righteousness! (1 Corinthians 15:34)