It has been estimated that there are more homes in the United States with televisions than there are with bathtubs or stoves (maybe this is an outdated statistic). This is an amazing observation, and yet it is not surprising. Television is part of our society and culture, and its influence cannot be ignored. It is a very powerful tool, which is not inherently good or evil, but the value of its influence depends upon how it is used.
Unfortunately, the use of television is so often evil that its influence is mostly detrimental. Christians must realize the harmful effects of television upon themselves and especially upon their children. Without parental supervision, impressionable children are open and susceptible to all kinds of evil and falsehoods which are often conveyed by television. By the same token, Christians who are not grounded in the word of God are also susceptible to these things, just as children are. Even the strongest Christians are not immune, for "bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33), and television is bad company when it portrays filthiness and wickedness.
One of the obvious concerns of Christians regarding television is the poor standard presented. Wickedness, such as unmarital sex, homosexuality, violence, unlawful divorce, abortion, immodesty, dishonesty, rebelion, etc., are constantly portrayed as normal and acceptable. Do not underestimate the factor that television has had in promoting such immorality in society. Some of these things would not even be known by many if they were not presented on television. Instead, they are so well known that it no longer startles godly people to see this kind of morality practiced in the real world.
Filthy language on television is another obvious concern for Christians. People who would not alIow a guest in their home who would speak such language often think nothing of hearing the same language on television. Television expresses language that is not only cursing but also language that is intended to imply all kinds of filthiness and indecency. Such language is condemned in Ephesians 5:4, where Paul wrote that there is to be no "filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting."
A less obvious concern, but no less important, is the time that is consumed by watching television. A person who watches seven hours of television per day on average will spend eighteen years in a sixty-five year lifespan watching television. This is time which is mostly unproductive. Yet Paul, by the Holy Spirit wrote, "Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16). Christians must be good stewards of what they have been given, including time.
It is imperative that Christians be good stewards of their own hearts. Jesus said, "The lamp of the body is the eye" and "if your eye is bad, your whole body is bad" (Matt. 6:22-23). The eye absorbs all that it sees into the heart. If one's eyes or his children's eyes are becoming darkened by television, then television must be cast away. Do not allow the eye to become a stumbling block. Jesus also said, "And if the eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you" (Matt. 18:9). I suggest that you try turning off the television first.
Stacey E. Durham
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