Lately my kids have been watching a lot of videos on YouTube. Mostly they watch music videos but there are also some “YouTubers” that they like to follow as well… people who have a YouTube channel and put up funny (although that word is subjective) videos or challenges or whatever. It seems though that many of the videos are becoming less and less appropriate and I have had to ban a few YouTube channels and videos because I don’t want my kids subjected to some of the messages or actions that are being promoted. It’s frustrating because some of these people start out really wholesome and innocent but as they progress into YouTube fame they become more willing to do more outrageous things that will attract the most followers and gain them the most attention and money.
It’s hard to teach your kids good, moral lessons when everywhere around them they are bombarded with just the opposite.
Chapter 14: Purity of Heart
Today’s chapter talks about purity of heart and the custody of our eyes. I have always told my children that who you hang out with is who you will become. If you hang out with racists, you will become a racist. If you hang out with people who do drugs, you will probably do drugs too. If you hang out with criminals, you will become a criminal. Of course on the flip side if you hang out with people who have good work ethics and values more than likely you will have those as well. If you hang out with people who help the poor, you will want to help the poor as well, etc. Our moral consciences are formed in part by those whom we surround ourselves with and whom we call friends.
We are also formed by what we see and experience. With my children the fact that they were being exposed to things that were questionable via the internet, well, that was a problem. I don’t want them to see things and experience things that they either are not ready for or that none of us should be exposed to. And it is sad that those we think are ok to watch devolve into ones we can no longer expose ourselves to. But, as Matthew Kelly says, having custody of the eyes is important and imperative as without it we can’t become the best version of ourselves.
My job as a mother is to protect my children and to keep them from being exposed to things that I think will harm them. I regularly have to tell my older kids that they have this responsibility towards their younger siblings too and to not watch things meant for older kids in front of the little ones. It’s a hard battle to fight as our society seems to want to expose our children to anything and everything at younger and younger ages.
Point to Ponder: Avert your eyes from anything that can pollute your soul.
It’s not just our children we have to worry about. Our own souls can be polluted and corrupted as well by the things we expose ourselves too. There are a few shows that my husband and I really like watching because they have strong and interesting storylines, but they aren’t terribly appropriate either because they contain sex scenes or horrible violence. He always laughs some when I avert my eyes during certain parts of the shows. Even as an adult there are things that I don’t need to see or experience. It’s difficult to be the odd one who says “I don’t want to see this” but for me it is important to do so. Once you see something, it can’t be unseen. And there are many things I don’t need cluttering my mind and my soul.
Verse to Live: “They eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22
I wish more people could understand this. While I don’t judge those who like to watch things that are overly sexual, violent, or otherwise morally questionable (since it’s not my place to judge), I hate that there are people I know and love who think that these things are ok to watch. Pornography and extreme violence are damaging not only to our souls but to our minds as well. Studies show that expose to them actually changes our brains. It not only affects us, but our entire society as well… the more we are exposed to violence, the more we accept violence. The more we are exposed to pornography (even soft porn that may not fit your definition of “porn”) the more we begin to feel that deviant acts or degradation of both women and men is ok.
We need to understand that our eyes are the entrance to our souls. What will we allow to mold and sculpt us?
Question to Ponder: If you learn to control what you look at, how deep with the peace within you be?
It’s hard to be countercultural and say that certain things are not ok. It’s hard to be the only one who doesn’t go and see certain movies or participate in particular outings. But I have found that for me the peace it brings to not subject myself to certain things is more important than going along and witnessing these things.
Your Turn: How hard is it for you to be countercultural and avoid the things that God tells us are inappropriate? Do you struggle with averting your eyes? Do you struggle with pornography? How do you think your life would change if you could rid yourself of your desire to watch or see things that do not build your soul into a temple for God?
Prayer: Jesus, purify my heart, purify my mind, purify my body, and purify my soul.
Help me to have custody of my eyes so that the things I see will help me on my journey to you. Help me to resist the temptations that are in front of me and that society thrusts upon me from every direction. Lord, help me to build my soul into a place that is perfect for you to live. Amen.