How did her life end up like this? She was having trouble making sense of it all. Today she was in court, a place she never expected to be, working out the terms of her divorce and ending 23 years of marriage. She was already struggling with her 17-year-old son who had bounced in and out of jail several times over the last year for physically abusing his girlfriend, and she was overwhelmed with exhaustion dealing with her youngest son and his constant anger and bullying attempts. To top it all off, she recently learned her 19-year-old daughter was expecting a baby and was struggling with the idea of being a single mom. There was so much negative in her family’s life and the question kept ringing in her mind, “Why is our family struggling with so much? Shouldn’t things be better since we have always gone to church?” As she contemplates this, her mind is led back in time…
She walks through the door of her memory and the first thing she sees as she enters her home is her oldest son, fingers glued to the video game console in his hand, and his mind fixated on the game he is engaged in. This was a scene not much different from one that took place multiple times in her home and yet this time, through her memory’s eyes, she notices something she had never noticed before– the game her son is playing. It is full of intense violence and severely inappropriate behavior of women. Could this be why her son physically abuses his girlfriend? She shakes her head, not wanting to deal with the question, and moves along to the family room. There she sees herself cuddled on the couch with a book, one like she had read many times before. The plot always left her feeling her husband wasn’t good enough. She is also watching one of the hottest shows on T.V. It’s the program where all the doctors are committing fornication, while homosexuality is viewed as acceptable and curse words abound. This time, in her memory, she notices something different. She realizes her teenage daughter is sitting right there next to her as they share an hour of being completely engrossed in the sinful activity taking place on the screen. “Could this be why my daughter is in the predicament she is in? Was sin made to look so attractive as we were entertained by it together?” She can’t stand the thought, so she moves on to her youngest son’s room where she sees him with his own television on. For the first time, she truly sees what is coming across her son’s screen– violent acts that could easily stir up anger and greatly contribute to the bully he has become.
As she stands back and looks at her family, she wants to slam the door on the memories. It becomes all too clear: The three hours they sat on a church pew each week did nothing to counteract all that took place for hours every day in her very own home for years. They had “invited” violence, fornication, adultery, anger and sin into their home, and it played out in their lives to lead them to where they are today!
Does this scenario sound a bit silly? In a society where technology is advancing at rapid speeds, it is considered “prudish” to even suggest that media can cause such issues (and yes, technology can be a wonderful, educational thing, but let’s face it, there is not much of a filter, even among “Christian” families). We convince ourselves that God wants us to be happy people who enjoy our pleasures, so we justify sin as we invite it into our homes through outlets such as media. But is that God’s plan for the home? Does God really want us to let our defenses down and let just anything into the walls of our homes?
The Bible always provides answers, and it does not fail this time, either. In the first chapter of Nehemiah, we read of Jerusalem as it is being explained to Nehemiah. The report was that the wall (which was significant since it represented strength, security, and structure) was broken down, the gates had been burned by fire, and the Jews were under great distress and reproach (1:3). Due to disobedience to God and sin being “invited” in, pagan forces had corrupted the wall.
In Nehemiah 1:4-11, Nehemiah weeps and mourns and prays for repentance in response to his new knowledge of Jerusalem. In verse six he states, “I and my father’s house have sinned against you” (Nehemiah 1:6 NASB). In Nehemiah 2:17 he says, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach!” The news of the destruction had impacted him and he wasn’t about to sit on the sidelines. He was going to act!
In chapter three, the people got to work. They started repairing the wall as a group, in a collective effort. In chapter four there were those who were furious to hear of the rebuilding of the wall. The opposition was on the rise, but Nehemiah charged the people in verse 14, “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses!” (Nehemiah 4:14, emphasis mine), and in verse 17 those who were rebuilding the wall worked with one hand, while the other hand held their weapon, ready to fight (Nehemiah 4:17)!
In our previous story, the mom wondered how her family had ended up in their current situation. Just as the people in the book of Nehemiah had allowed outside pagan forces to destroy their walls, she and her family had allowed forces (acting through the media) to penetrate through the walls of their home until their defenses were weakened and it was destroyed. In Proverbs 4:23 the Bible reminds us, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.” If we are not guarding our hearts and protecting the walls of our home, we are leaving our families wide open for destruction! We are leaving Satan room for attack! If we have already let sin creep in and crumble the foundation, now is not the time to give up!
Families, it is time to rebuild our walls! It is time to evaluate (or even re-evaluate) our priorities, our entertainment choices, and our lifestyles. Just like Nehemiah, it is time to seek forgiveness and get to work fighting the opposition! I know I am! Now, let’s go to battle!