Blood On the Screen

Scripture: Proverbs 23:7, Matthew 5:27-29, Philippians 4:8
The door to what the average family watches on TV keeps opening wider and wider. Christian moral standards are dropping and we are exposed to evils that hurt our walk with God. By beholding we become changed. We would do well to follow David's advice: "I will set no evil thing before my eyes."
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By the time the average American child reaches 14, he will have witnessed the violent death of over 13,000 human beings. I'll be back in a moment with the Amazing Facts about blood on the screen.

Hello, this is Joe Crews and the Amazing Facts broadcast: facts which affect you. Let me ask you a question today? How much programming on today's television meets the Bible test for Christian viewing? You know almost every Christian family owns a TV set, but what kind of programs do they look at? Because there are occasional programs which meet the Bible test of truth and purity, it's easy to succumb to the argument that the set will be used only as an educational tool for the family. Solemn resolutions are usually made concerning the high quality of program that will be approved for viewing. But let's be honest and truthful friends. For how long did those restrictive regulations continue to govern the television set? Policing becomes almost impossible because of the border-line nature of many programs. Uncertainty over where to draw a line and whether a few words of profanity disqualify an hour long documentary and other equally perplexing decisions soon become to tedious to tolerate.

The door is open wider and wider and the discriminative sense accommodates to the increasing flow of below standard pictures and scenes. It's easy to justify a little more loose language because of the scattered use of expletives by popular network news reporters. Many of the advertising commercials are also lased with innuendoes which belittle the Christian moral standards. It's becoming more difficult to believe that even the most careful selective viewing will not also produce a spiritual desensitivity. Snatches and phrases of gutter talk creep into some of the most highly talented educational shows. Many argue that we must learn to live with this kind of language because it surrounds us all the time. Now it's true that we often overhear the vulgarities of the world around us. But should we deliberately expose ourselves to that which we could avoid?

The truth is that most of us face severe struggles in turning away from the enticing scenes of evil that we can't avoid even while walking down the street. There's enough temptation to occupy all of our time and effort without bringing a deliberate source of temptation right into the living room. What many fail to understand is that there can be sin in a look.

If somebody had come up behind mother Eve in the garden Eden and ask her what she was doing in front of that forbidden tree, she'd probably would have answered, I'm just looking. But those looks of Eve led into all the multiplied sorrows and eventual deaths of billions of human beings over six tragic millenniums. King David awoke from an afternoon nape and quite by chance saw his neighbors beautiful wife taking a bath on her Mediterranean roof garden. Now it's more than likely if someone had asked David what he was doing he would have answered, jus looking. But those looks led to adultery and murder, sins which influenced a nation to forget God.

The results of his immorality with Bathsheba so marked that family of David that four of his own children were taken from him by tragedy of apostasy. How bitterly he later lamented the scarring consequences of his innocent looking. The indelible influence of mental patterns cannot be over emphasized. By beholding we become changed. Faults are produced by what a person sees. In Proverbs 23:7, 'For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.' Now this brings us to one of the most awesome reasons that television can be detrimental to the Christian life. It's based upon the principle of vicarious are mental participation in sin.

Jesus declared, 'Ye have heard that it was said of them of all kind, thou shalt not commit adultery, but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a women to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart' Mathew 5:27,28. Now please take note that the mind is capable of creating such realistic mental pictures that people actually become involved in the imaginary scenes. The participation is so real that Jesus said we are held accountable for what we permit our minds to dwell upon just as though we were going through physical act itself. Since the brain is the decision center for the body, every act performed must first be conceived in the mind before it can be translated into action. The brain through the vast nerve communications system sends the message for hands, feet, or other physical organs to go into action. This, by the way, is the precise point of the strongest temptation. Harboring the mental picture until it transmits the order for the body to act is so presumptuous and so debilitating to the will that few people are able to turn back from obeying that order.

The Christians only sure protection from sin is to reject the thought or imagination of evil which Satan seeks to impose on the mind. Once the evil deed has been harbored and pondered, even though only as a thought, the incredible intimate relationship of mind and body begins to produce physical reactions. With a speed of electricity, the brain sends off a message alerting the entire to the contemplated action. Now the mind and body unite in bringing pressure for the person to perform the act.

But let's suppose that it's impossible for the person to carry out the physical indulgence prompted by the mind. Perhaps a lustful attitude has been produced into thoughts, but there's no one with whom to participate in the act of sin. Or if the person is a Christian, he might have such strong inhibitions against the contemplated act that he'll resist carrying out the impulses of the mind. In this case the sin exists only in the imagination. But such is the power of thought that in God's sight the vicarious mental performance of the sin is counted as serious as a physical indulgence itself.

But now let's apply this principle to the watching of TV. No where do we see a more vivid demonstration of vicarious participation. Even thought the viewer may be mature enough to know that the scene is only a fabricated pretend situation, yet he becomes as emotionally involved in the picture as if he were actually living out the experience. The heart pounds with fright, the eyes fill tears, and the viewer is mentally projecting himself into the scene. Whether fighting and shooting his way out of a desperate situation, suffering the trauma of incurable disease, or yielding to the excitement of a provocative bedroom scene. The viewer is caught up in the plot taking part by proxy in the adventures of the hero or heroine. Jesus said that this kind of participation is just as wrong as the actual physical involvement.

Now try to imagine the fantastic strategy of Satan in his use of the television media. It staggers the mind even to think about it. Here is a situation in which the devil inspires one act of simulated sin. For example an artificial, make believe portrayal of adultery. But through his manipulation of emotions, Satan can turn that one acted out sin into a million real sins of adultery because a million will project themselves into the picture and in their minds it is not make believe, it is so real that even their bodies react. The emotions of lust and fear so fully obsess the beholder that even though they can't take part physically in the sin their minds and wills are affected in exactly the same way as if they were taking part. And more serious still, God holds them just as guilty as if they had done it personally.

Now think of this, what a clever diabolical way to turn people into thieves, murderers, and adulterers. Satan only has to work with the script writers and actors to produce the most appealing realistic and emotional plots. From that point the natural laws of the mind take over and the viewers become emotional captives of what ever the allow themselves to look at. One day the may be living out the experience of shoplifting, the next day of murder, and later of fornication or adultery. To the actors on the screen it's preposterous pretense, but to the viewers it is momentarily at least the opportunity to do all the exciting things that God and society forbid without having to face the consequences of doing them. But do we have to face the consequences friends? Not physically perhaps, but the moral responsibility for those vicarious deeds every person will have to face in the judgment.

For those who have not confessed and forsaken those sins, what a terrible account must be rendered for the prostitution of the sacred powers of mind and body. Surely this principle of sin by substitution explains why the Bible explains so strongly on the subject of the five senses. Jesus made it clear that no effort should be spared in safe-guarding the avenues of the mind. Immediately after his comment about looking on a women in lust he said, 'and if the right eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee for it is profitable for thee that one thy members should perish and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell' Mathew 5:29. Now this text is often been misconstrued friends. Jesus was not talking about the physical eye. A person could loose one eye and still be evil and perverse. No no, he was talking about the things on which the eye focuses. If the eye is looking at something which is liable to leave the eye or the person into sin, Jesus was saying that the most drastic action should be taken to put those scenes out of you.

In other words, don't continue to look at something which is spiritually offensive and provocative. Doing so could lead to sin and cause the person to be cast into hell. What a dramatic example of the dangers of just looking at wrong pictures. Translated into a modern setting, Christ was saying that if we have a television set in the home, which we can't control, it's better to cast it out of the house onto the junk pile than to be led into sin by its influence. Better to lead a so-called one eyed existence without television than to loose our soul by defiling sinful thoughts created by television. The command of Christ was to pluck it out, to turn away from what the eye is looking at. The choice is ours to make. The only way to be pure minded is to look at, listen to, and speak only the things that are pure. Paul said, 'Finally bretheren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise think on these things' Philippians 4:8.

The secret of being pure, honest, and virtuous is to think that way and the way we think is determined by what we see, hear, and speak. David said, 'I will set no wicked thing before my eyes' Psalms 101:3. Now to these physical factors, we could add pages of shocking statistics on the effect of TV violence on the mind and morals, upon crime encystations and scholastic achievement. These are well known and often repeated. No one will ever know exactly how many blue prints for crime had been carefully detailed in a TV story and later put into operation by an assortment of muggers, thieves, and rapists.

Society today is in the grip of a growing complacency toward violence and human suffering. Constant television exposure to cruelty and inhumanity has created a climate of amazing indifference to our fellow man. People do not want to get involved; usually they pass heedlessly by the victim of attack. Public reaction to natural calamity such as earthquakes and floods and famines is almost ho-hum. The six-o-clock p.m. news cast pictures of thousands dying in South America or Turkey make even less impression than last nights late movie scenes. Because they become so accustomed to them you see friends and by that acted violence. Well our time has slipped away from us. I wish we had more time. I pray that you will follow God in this matter.

The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Isaiah 33:13-15

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