The Video Music Awards on Sunday night provide me an easy way to begin this post. I didn’t watch the VMAs last night but when I returned home from having dinner with a friend, my main Twitter list feed (mostly full of pastors and gal-pals and authors) was full of the words
shock!, heartbreak!, Miley Cyrus!, sad!, our children!, pray!
A few minutes of browsing through the #VMA hashtag provided me with more than enough imagery to see what it was that caused people to respond this way. I don’t recommend you Google it.
But generally speaking, this is a timely milestone in our culture and it gives me the chance to ask you one question:
Who do you want teaching your children about sex?
The answer is fairly simple.
“But I would never in a million years let my child watch the VMAs.”
Fair enough. But if your child is in contact with any other child in school, in church, on her soccer team, at sleepovers…if your child stands next to you as you check out at Kroger and sees the cover of any one of the magazines in line, or walks with you in the mall, or …
I think you get the point.
This is why it is essential you have these conversations with your children. And you may not know how. Or where to begin. Or want to believe it’s necessary, but it is. It is entirely mandatory for you, as a parent, to stand in between the pixels and skin of the media and the heart and the mind of your child.
Tomorrow, I’ll provide you with an extensive list of resources to help you do this but I felt the need to preface the resources.
This is not about behavioral modification. This is not about “doing” the “right” things to shelter and protect our kids.
It has to begin somewhere below the surface, on a battlefield that is not fought on earth.
FIRST – It has to begin with prayer.
My pastor met with a college student recently who shared her small Christian liberal arts college was experience an epidemic of pornography. It almost became an acceptable thing to “struggle” with. She asked for resources – software, Bible studies, books – to help combat it. His reply?
“Do you guys have a prayer meeting?”
They didn’t. He went on to explain how we can try to change our actions, to do things we think are right but until we are on our face, humbled in prayer before our God, we don’t stand a chance.
So before we read twenty books and blogs on how to do the right things, we must begin to fight this battle in prayer. Pray for your children, for your church, for your community, for those in the media, for our country, for our world. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe in miracles. Call me naive, but I believe it doesn’t have to only get worse from here. I believe as we pray and fight on the spiritual plane, the dark forces that continue taking over us, that continue taking over our children must stop in Jesus’ name.
The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and that same power can put to death the evil that wants to destroy our lives.
SECOND - Act. Yes, we must act. Erwin McManus once said, “Whoever tells the best story shapes the culture.”
Right now, media is shaping our culture. It’s saying what’s right and wrong. What’s okay and what’s not. A relatively recent study (10 years ago, so I imagine the numbers are probably worse now) says about media with sexual content:
“Risks and negative consequences of sexual behavior were found in only 2% of all scenes with sexual content.”
This is after learning “83% of programs popular with teens had sexual content, and 20% contained explicit or implicit intercourse. On average, each hour of programming popular with teens had 6.7 scenes that included sexual topics.”
We must tell a better story. We must portray the beauty of what the Scriptures say about sex and educate the brokenness that happens when we make choices outside of what the Bible says. We do this with our lives. We do this with our words. We do this with what we create.
If we make the choice to sit by and let conversations with our children just happen, we have waited too long. Involve your church, involve your pastors, involve your family, involve your neighborhood. Don’t go into this battle alone. Link arms, pray, and fight by painting beauty.
We cannot be afraid of this anymore.
We can change this.