We were talking together as pastors the other day, weighing what we can do to help our parents protect their children from the wicked influences of today’s entertainment. This is no simple task. The center of a decadent society’s life together is entertainment and those who produce it are the society’s high priests.
We don’t have to open the doors of our house to this excrement; it’s a flood washing through our minds and hearts and the minds and hearts of our children, at the same time both uninvited and almost unhindered. If you don’t believe me, pick a random list of filthy personalities from music and ask your teenage children to identify them. Like I said, it’s everywhere—even at the gas pump while you’re pumping gas—and there aren’t many of our teenage children who have remained pristinely unaware and uninfluenced by this slime.
Now there is a necessary, firm forbidding that must form the bedrock of our homes and childrearing concerning this filth, and that’s partly what I’ve been talking about the last two days in connection with the screens of smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops, and computers. No effort to purify the home has any teeth at all that doesn’t start with a bunch of forbidding this and that concerning these tools made to pump images into us, and particularly the availability of these tools in private settings such as teenagers’ bedrooms. If you don’t protect your teenager whether boy or girl from being assaulted by obscenities in the privacy of their bedrooms, you haven’t begun to be a father (or mother, for that matter).
And no, I’m not talking about protecting them through inculcating healthy inner self-directedness. There are plenty of places for that to be taught and exercised without the privacy of your teenagers’ bedrooms being unsafe places containing, as one of our pastors put it, piles of pornography under the bed just waiting for the young man or woman to be weak.
So, like all poisons, naked flesh is such a wicked danger to us and our children that we don’t start with inner directedness and self-control, but checks and balances and forbiddings and hard-edged accountability. Like President Reagan put it, “Trust, but verify.”
After these minimal acts of fatherhood, though, don’t forget that the best antidote to adultery is love. The best antidote to you yourself viewing the naked flesh of someone other than your wife is you concretely and zealously and tenderly and frequently loving your wife. Loving her with gifts. With words. With touches. With help. With care and protection given her children. With drives. With food. With music. With smiles. With kisses. With listening. You know, all those things you don’t do naturally.
The best way to reduce the attractiveness of evil is to fix your gaze on the good, and what is better good than your goodwife? Look at all those children she’s given you! Don’t they remind you of her? Aren’t they delightful? Their looks. Their personalities? Their interests? Isn’t it beautiful how your daughters want to be up on the counter helping your lover make dinner? How they stand by her shoulder as she sits at the sewing machine, learning how to sew the seam and thread the bobbin?
Is there anything more beautiful than daughters working with their mothers? Do you celebrate this, or are you so deaf, dumb, and blind that you take it for granted?
Trust me: there is no teenage boy looking for a sexting rush who can hold a candle to your teenage daughter working with her mother and loving every minute of it, basking in her father’s approval and joy when he gets home and sees it.
Learn this lesson of Scripture concerning the truly best or most efficient way of displacing the rot of our culture’s entertainment:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:21