Once upon a time there was a young husband. His wife hated snakes with a passion. Deeply. And fully. This young man told his family just how much he loved his wife. He told his friends how much he loved his young wife. And he told his wife how much he loved her.
But one day the young wife came home to find a small snake statue sitting on her coffee table.
“What is this?” she demanded.
“Oh, I know you don’t like snakes but honey this is just a tiny, little statue. It’s not a big deal,” He rubbed her shoulders as he spoke, whispering the words soothingly.
The young wife relaxed a bit, still eyeing the statue doubtfully. She spent the next few days trying to ignore it. But every time she walked by she saw it’s beady marble eyes staring at her and she shivered. And that was when she started to doubt her husband’s love just a little.
Over the course of the next year, the husband brought more and more snakes into the house, rationalizing and explaining them away to his young wife, until one day he wall-papered their bedroom with photos of them.
The young women, unsuspecting, walked into the room after a long day and gave a little scream of shock. Her husband’s argument had always been that he doesn’t have any live snakes in their house. But no matter how he rationalized with her, she now realized that he didn’t really love her at all, but only said he did. The snakes covering their bedroom walls made that perfectly clear. For no man who truly loved her would make her live immersed in and surrounded by something that she abhorred.
That wasn’t love.
My brother, Pastor Dean, gives this illustration to explain the inconsistency of saying with our mouths that we love the Lord and yet then filling our hearts and minds with the things He hates.
My dear readers, I have a heavy, heavy burden over the entertainment blindness that is in the church. As if somehow entertainment is excluded from our call to purity and holiness. How has Satan so tricked us into believing that we can say we love the Lord and yet fill our eyes, ears, brains, and hearts with the things God abhors?
We find these things in Galatians 5:19-21–
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
And Colossians 3:5-8–
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
There are many more places in scripture that show us the things we are to eradicate when we become saved. We have left the darkness and walked into the light. So why do we think it’s just fine to bring the darkness into our homes and cars and lives, as if not doing the actual sin ourselves somehow makes it all okay? Why do we want to?
Funny thing is–or should I say the tragic thing is–not only are Christians watching these things but they are defending them under the guise of Christian liberty. They are are actually rationalizing and explaining away why it is okay to fill our minds with the things God hates.
This has been one of the biggest puzzles I have tried to understand as a believer. How can godly people who are in a good solid church and in the Word on a regular basis justify such evil entertainment?
I think it has something to do with the hardening our consciences. See, as the young husband filled his home with snakes, he became rather inoculated to them. He stopped thinking about the offense he was bringing to his wife. Oh, his conscience was pricked once in awhile–kind of like ours is after a sermon or blog post about entertainment is pricked, but not enough to actually make changes. After all, he could enjoy the feel of snakes–the look of snakes–and his fascination of snakes without having a real snake.
Let’s continue our story for just a moment. Let’s say that the young man saw his wife’s distress and, finally faces what he is doing to the relationship. Instead of rationalizing it away, he recognizes his lack of love towards her in one eye-opening moment. He starts removing the snakes from the house. As he does so, they start to lose their appeal. He eyes the statue in his hand and starts to wonder what his fascination was to begin with. As he turns it over, he recognizes it for what it is. As the weeks slip by, he finds snakes here and there but he is quick to remove them in his desire to eradicate all snakes from his life. Not only as a sign of love for his wife, but because has grown to hate them like her.
I’d like to share a quick story from my own life about this. I’ve shared it before but it’s been a long time. In the mid-90s my husband and I had a favorite TV show we liked to watch. We’d turn it on and for 30 minutes we could forget the world and just laugh. We enjoyed that and never really thought that much about it. Fast forward 15 years to when the show came back on in re-runs. Keep in mind that in that time, we were making an effort to purify our entertainment and to live out Philippians 4:8–
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
And Psalm 101:3–
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.
So one day I sat down to watch the show. And I was appalled. It was terrible. It was filled with fornication, crude language, envy, and a number of other things that all made me cringe inside. And I realized something–God was working in me! I was growing towards Him and away from the world.
I’d like to say I never struggled with this area of entertainment again, but of course I did. Of course I do. It’s a really tough area of life to navigate.
But may I suggest that we give this area of our lives to the Lord?
The other week I decided to look at the lyrics of the Top Ten pop songs chart for a Bible Study I was doing. Can I just tell you that it almost made me sick? Literally. And yet this is what Christians play on their radios, filling their minds with all kinds of evil. Allowing their kids to fill their minds with all kinds of evil.
Why don’t we care? Why doesn’t it bother us as believers? Those are the questions that I still have no answer for. However, from my own life, I have recognized one thing–
Our entertainment choices and spiritual growth are directly correlated.
Until I really gave an effort to purifying my entertainment, my spiritual growth was stunted.
I know that I am pretty alone on this issue. Our family has learned to take the criticisms and ridicule we regularly receive at not going to the popular movies filled with immorality, watching the TV shows filled with crude language, or ignoring the bestsellers that are full of sorcery. And, honestly, sometimes some of us cave to the peer pressure. It gets really old always having to be the odd one out and sometimes we blow it.
Someone accused me yesterday of thinking myself to be so righteous. At first, I was taken aback. I never want anyone to believe that about me. So let me be clear here– I am not righteous in any way, which is clear to me on almost any given day. I am just a wicked sinner saved by grace who loves her Lord. And I believe that my love for Jesus has to shine through all areas of my life–including my entertainment.
I hope that you will consider opening the entertainment room of your heart to the Lord.
19 thoughts on “Love and Snakes”
This was an excellent post, Leslie. Printing for our family to read. We need to pay attention to what God’s Word says. Things that we think are harmless – like snake wallpaper…
Oh, I am so glad if this post helps even one family to consider their entertainment choices more carefully–thanks for encouraging me, Andrea!
My hubby and I noticed the same thing when we wanted to show certain shows or movies from when we were teens or college age. We were shocked and wondered what we had been thinking or not thinking when we watched them years ago. It is hard to be called too critical, judgmental, “holier than thou”, etc. when trying to guard what our kids/family watch. Thank you for the article!! We need to pray for one another in this area!
Amen! And, yes, we experienced the same thing when we wanted to show our kids a couple of the 80s “Big” Movies. How did we not see it at the time? Makes me have more grace for teens and twenty-somethings. I made some pretty terrible choice when I was younger. All those wasted hours…
To take this a little further, we do the same thing with error in the church. I heard a phrase a while ago, I forget from who, that said that while we say we love the truth, we have a sweet tooth for error. Whether it is Christian music, Christian movies, or actual sermons, many of us tolerate error. It seems that Christian music and movies really get a free pass. As long as the music makes us “feel close to God”, it does not matter if the lyrics are actually scriptural or not. As long as a movie “gets people thinking about God” it does not matter if what people are thinking about Him is accurate. As long as a pastor does a lot of good things and says “mostly good” things, he can get away with error. If we say we love God, we must love truth for that is one of His main attributes. And if you love truth, you must hate error.
Wonderful, profound points as usual, Trent. :) I didn’t even touch on Christian music–but some of that is more dangerous than secular because of the so-subtle deception. Thank you so much for your insight!
Thanks! It is very refreshing to know someone else feels as I do on the entertainment issues!
And it is wonderful for me to know I am not alone :)
Thanks for this leson. I have really been trying to stay away from TV programs that are foul & vulgar. I have to concentrate more on the music I listen to. Thanks for reaffirming what I have been feeling.
I am so glad if this post helped you, Debbie! :)
Thank you! For Christmas this past year, my husband and I got rid of our T.V. and bought a fake fireplace. Love it. We have said for years that we don’t swear in our living room and we are not going to let a box swear either. We are definitely the weird ones. We don’t even know about the commercials. God bless you for taking a stand. I know it is a very unpopular one.
Thank you, Jan, for your encouragement! And good for you and your husband! I haven’t quite talked my husband into getting rid of the TV yet, but we are extremely intentional with what we watch.
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WOW! PERFECT! I’m SO SO GLAD that you are writing these things!!!! So glad I found you…i.e. God helped me find you!
Thank you, Rhonda! Thanks for reading and for taking the time to encourage me by commenting :)
Just want you to see this…perhaps you have. It is in England now and surely is coming to American churches soon. http://www.led-band.com/
I’ll take a look at it. Thank you!