I love Soap Operas! I watched two for about 35 years. The Young and the Restless and Guiding Light. I watched a few others over the years, but those two were my top favorites. I did not just watch daytime soaps, oh I loved a good night time soap too. Melrose Place, Dawson’s Creek, Beverly Hills 90210, Knots Landing, and of course Dallas (the classic and the new one.) I was hooked on the shows Weeds, The L Word, Nip Tuck, and a Danish drama Borgen. I watched all sorts of movies and read all sorts of books and listened to all sorts of music. I never filtered what I watched, listened to, or said.
Several years ago the Lord began dealing with me on the importance of being mindful in what I hear, see, and speak.
First, He dealt with me on secular music. If it was not a song singing about partying, drinking, sex, drugs, or pining after an old lover it was singing about sadness, cheating, anger and revenge. I had sort of a wakeup call on two different situations with my kids. A neighbor kid and my son wanted to do a talent show with a certain song. I went to my computer to print out the lyrics and in reading them I was shocked at what the words said. Here I had been singing it and allowing my kids to sing the lyrics. I explained to them that we had to choose a different song. When my son and his friend read it they were creeped out that they had been singing those words.
I know over the years I was guilty of liking a song by a good beat that I never paid attention to the words of the song. People would tell me the meaning to the song and I would be shocked at what it was saying. I too would get creeped out.
The second wakeup call is when my beautiful daughter was sitting at the breakfast table belting out the song: Ahhh Me so Horny!. I about choked on my coffee that morning. I rushed to the table to inquire what she thought that song meant. She had no idea what the word meant, she just liked the beat of the music. When I explained the meaning she burst into tears. I asked where she heard that song sang and she said Daddy had a cd in his car that they found and were playing. I knew the CD well and knew the rest of that CD too, and it was not what you want your children to hear. For years after I would try to guard my kids ears from certain music, but I still allowed myself to listen to it. God started opening my ears to what the words were saying and I became so uncomfortable singing or listening to secular songs, so I started to listen to Worship music. I found that the words were enriching and restoring and renewing to my soul. I prefer to listen to music that Exalts God and brings much peace to my soul. When I control it in my home, car and around my kids, it makes for better kiddos too.
Then God revealed through a friend that I had the movie rating system backwards. I thought it was G, PG13, PG, R, X….and so forth. It is PG then PG 13, Then R, by the way. I had allowed my pre-teens to watch PG13 movies thinking it meant up to 13. I would always get that nervous laugh and become uncomfortable during the sexual innuendo parts while viewing with my kiddos, but I did not really pay attention to all the cursing. I cursed like a sailor and I would say the classic line, do as I say, not as I do. God had not fully begun to deal with me on my mouth yet.
One time my son came to me and I remember he asked if he could just cuss at home. That he liked to cuss too. As funny as I thought it was at the time, it was really sad. Sometimes you just can’t unlearn those mistakes as a parent you made, but God, thankfully He chose to redeem me and can change my kids too.
I even allowed my kids to watch some R movies at the persuasion of others that said they were not so bad. Big mistake. Once a child sees one R rated movie, they will not want to watch any G movies. They will love to brag to their friends and remind everyone in ear shot that you; yep you that big bad momma let them watch Wedding Crashers and the Hangover. I thought they could just un see what they had seen, but God started showing me that you can’t. I knew I had to set the example and not watch those types of movies around them either. It became so miserable that I could barely watch any movies myself. They were all so violent, with just horrible language (worse than mine) and so much vile abuse and sex and nudity and demonic activity. It would stay with me for days and I just felt yuck after seeing them. God started dealing with me and my TV shows too. I read this verse one day and knew it was my confirmation to guard what we were watching.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! ~ Matthew 6:22-23 NIV
I gave up many many shows. I still held on to a few and I would replace some with some not so bad, I would catch up on Netflix when my kids were not around, and finally I surrendered and gave them all up. This verse really sealed the deal for me.
I will not set anything worthless before my eyes. I hate the practice of transgression; it will not cling to me. ~ Psalm 101:3 HCSB
I wanted to be obedient to Him more then I wanted to know if Nick got back with Sharon and left Phyllis. I did not want to lay awake at night wondering and replaying those story lines waiting for the next season to start or be so bummed by the cliff hangers. It actually caused me stress and to feel anxious. I wanted peace to reign in myself, my family and in my home. Those types of shows bring strife and negativity into your home.
People did not really understand my decisions. Some even thought I was a little crazy to give up TV, movies, and secular music. I wanted to cleanse my mind, my ears, eyes, and words. Those things make deposits into our soul. When we are blaring bad music or bad television shows and movies in our homes, cars, etc. we are affecting our atmospheres. It is like walking around blindly at a dog park and thinking you won’t step in some doody. It clings to you! I do not want anything to cling to me or my kiddos. They will see enough on their own, so we have a responsibility to control when and what we can.
I wanted to practice living out this verse and have it come to life in my life and my children’s life.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. ~ Philippians 4:8 NLT
Lastly, God wanted me to be that little monkey with my hand over my mouth. He wanted to make sure that I understood that words have power. Words can heal or hurt; they can bring down or build up. They can bring life or death. For far too many years I have just opened my mouth and blurted out whatever I felt like. I would grumble and complain and not realize that I was speaking those negative things to be in my life. The mouth verses that really opened my eyes (and closed my mouth more) were:
And I tell you this; you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. ~ Matthew 12:36 NLT
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. ~ Ephesians 4:29 NLT
I can’t expect my teenagers or husband to clean up their negative unworthy words if I am speaking unworthy words myself. If we have to give account for our idle words at judgment day, oh my! We have a lot of splaining to do Lucy!
The codeword in our house is Worthy Words now and we take the Ephesians 4:29 challenge often when we are beginning to let our mouths slip. I am not perfect. I slip up still. I love that God grants me grace. I also can grant grace to those people not living a life based on my same Biblical world view. God has to deal with each one on His terms, not mine. It is easy to slip so that is why God tells us:
Don’t let anyone deceive you. Associating with bad (people) will ruin decent people. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33 GWT
I don’t want to be deceived or ruined. I am learning to excuse myself from those unworthy conversations and groups of people and not be drawn into gossip. I am learning to surround myself with people that understand and respect that I live by a Biblical World View and that is how I choose to raise my children. I am comfortable getting up and walking out of a movie or the room if someone is playing something I don’t have peace about. I also am learning to keep my hand over my mouth until I let the Lord fill it. I am able to speak up when someone uses the GD word around me and let them know that is NOT God’s name and is offensive to me. I can disagree with someone’s lifestyle and choices but still love them as a person. I am getting better at not letting the F Bomb drop and my old favorite word Dammit does not bring me comfort and peace nearly as being obedient to God does. We cannot be all God wants us to be if we are filling ourselves up with junk and not guarding our ears, eyes, and mouth.
Like the parental controls we set on our TV and computers, our Heavenly Father is setting parental controls for us in His Word, The Bible.
The ole “Monkey See Monkey Do” saying is so true. What sermon will you be preaching with your words and actions?
I want myself, my home and my family to See no evil, Hear no evil, and Speak no evil. I want us to be so filled with the word and presence of God that we shine and pour out Jesus to all we come in contact with. God is the Great Restorer and Transformer. His Word has amazing power! Let Him speak to you on the areas of your life that He is calling you to come up higher in. Whatever He asks you to lie down, rest assured it is because He has something much better in store for you and your future.
~ XXOO Michelle Bollom