sin-shorter

Editors note: The purpose of this series is to help our readers understand what sin is, how serious sin is, and how great the grace of God, who offers redemption to sinners from sin and new life in Christ.

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Psalm 101:3, “I will not allow before my eyes any shameful thing. I hate those who act crookedly; what they do does not attract me.”

Let’s face it. We live in a world where all manner of entertainment is literally at our very fingertips. Movies, music, television shows, video clips – all can be accessed on a phone, tablet, or the good old fashioned television set. I will readily admit the enjoyment of laying on the couch or in bed and watching something of what I hope to have some level of entertainment value all in the name of taking my mind off a busy day.

As I was doing this very thing the other night before bed in the name of relaxing, I decided to watch via my Amazon Prime service an episode of Frasier. For those not familiar with that program, it was on television from 1993-2004 and continues to be shown as re-runs so check your local listings if you are interested. Frasier starred Kelsey Grammar from Cheers fame as a Seattle based radio psychiatrist named Frasier Crane who lives with his father Martin Crane, his father’s caretaker Daphne Moon with Frasier regularly interacting with his brother Niles who we will discuss in a moment. As far as sitcoms go, this one is relatively tame or so I thought. Something I watched the other night made me realize the subtlety of perversion that creeps its way into entertainment wrapped up in a nice little blanket of humor.

So let me describe the episode I was watching. Niles Crane, a self proclaimed happily married man, seems to take a liking to Daphne, the attractive British caretaker of his father Martin. During a party to celebrate Frasier’s purchase of a local artists painting, Niles and Daphne find themselves in the kitchen. Now Daphne was legitimately in the kitchen preparing some food; however, Niles took the opportunity to find time to be around Daphne even going so far as to take a quick sniff of her hair. When questioned by Daphne as to whether he had just sniffed her hair, Niles quickly stated he had not since after all he is a happily married man. Overall, this was a relatively short scene over the course of a 23 minute episode.

What is the big deal you might ask? This is just a bit of societal humor and after all Niles did not act upon his impulses. Both responses can be affirmed as true; however, what society deems as appropriate is not necessarily what Scripture deems as appropriate. Psalm 101:3 declares we are to set no shameful thing before our eyes. How do we know the actions of Niles Crane are included in the category of a shameful thing? The answer lies in Scripture which clearly notes “that a man who even looks at a woman with the purpose of lusting after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) One can clearly state that Niles Crane was certainly lusting after Daphne unless for some reason he was truly interested in what type of shampoo and conditioner she was using. Of course we know that to not be true simply by observing the manner in which Niles acted to include his outright lie of doing the very thing Daphne questioned him about.

What are we to do as believers given the sheer volume of such garbage within the entertainment industry today? Are we to give a little chuckle and move on thinking such a small snippet of a program will have no impact on our lives? Are we to completely remove ourselves from watching any form of entertainment given the pervasive manner in which this type of shameful act resides throughout our programming options? Should we be more discerning in what we watch knowing the impact the repetitive or even singular act of watching such things has on our lives? For me and my family, options two and three are becoming increasingly the approach I am taking. To simply give a little chuckle or to try and turn a quick blind eye or to even endure that which is shameful goes against the clear command in Scripture to set no shameful thing before our eyes. Now this is serious business and may for some involve a massive paradigm shift in what we watch and even what we listen to. But I ask those who might balk at this suggestion what is more important? A little bit of so-called humor thinking it has no impact or the pursuit of holiness in order to bring glory to God?

Are we willing to place every part of our lives under the Lordship of Christ to include our eyes and our minds or are we insistent on keeping that little part for ourselves? Sinful behavior within our lives often starts with just a tiny little seed that is planted, often as a result of something we have watched or listened to. We see society champion lustful behavior portraying it as nothing more than a passing whim. Unfortunately, that passing whim turns into impure thoughts which turn into lust which turns into adultery which turns into broken marriages and broken homes.

Now I am not declaring that simply because you watched Niles Crane sniff Daphne Moon’s hair that you will suddenly have the urge to go out and involve yourself in an adulterous affair. That would mean that I am now planning an adulterous affair since I watched that bit of shameful programming. What I am saying is be diligent to screen and to be aware of what you are watching. We are fast becoming numb and flippant to the sinful behavior society is promoting. In the end, what is better? To turn the television, phone, or tablet off and spend quality time with your family reading God’s word, taking a walk, playing a game or something of a positive nature or to sit and “relax”, soaking in the incessant and deleterious nonsense we are told by God to flee from? The proper choice seems rather clear and admittedly the right choice is often difficult. It takes the movement of a couple of fingers to turn off that device and to turn on that which is “true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Phil. 4:8). For those who want to be a loving bride for their Bridegroom King Jesus, doing that which glorifies Him is a must!