He was 16ish! “ALL” of his friends were going, making me the over-protective dictator for my “no” for the 3rd year in a row.
“It’s no big deal. It’s fake blood, pretend dead people in costumes. It’s not that bad.”
My oldest soars in ability to justify things I don’t support or approve of and this time he was determined to make it to Scarywood, a local theme parks “haunted house” on steroids. The disclaimer on the web site read, “may be too intense for young children and is not recommended for children 12 and under.”
“I’m 16, mom, I can handle it.”
So just who gets to determine the magical age that determines a movie, event or video game acceptable?
Why is it we believe that at some point in our brain development or maturity, what was once deemed inappropriate suddenly becomes fitting and unobjectionable for emotional and mental consumption?
The lack of nutritional value of a Snickers, does not magically become advantageous when I turn 21, nor does my physiological body become better with age at processing it and turning it into a valuable source of energy.
Yet we deceive ourselves into believing our emotions and our consumption of information can be compartmentalized and processed without it effecting us just because we have “matured.” We also deceive ourselves if we believe God’s hopes and intentions to protect our hearts lessens with our time of existence on Earth. We as Christians need to be aware of the world but not partakers of it’s ways.
If the world’s interpretation of appropriateness doesn’t move us to action, to become more like God or challenge us to invest in and change our surroundings then the content sits idly in our hearts and minds with a poisonous risk to the growth of our soul.
I liken it to a desensitizing resilience that we build up and rename it “maturity” when in reality all we are doing is becoming more increasingly callous to things that break God’s heart.
These conversations are abundant in my home given the independent seeking nature of my 19, 16 and 14 yr old children who desperately want to fit in with what surrounds them at school. This particular one, I turned the tables and took a risk.
“Look, I’m not going to argue with you again this year. I’ll tell you what, you go to your room, seriously pray and ask God if He wants you to go to the theme park displaying dead bodies coming back to life, blood, gore and even some sexually enhanced characters and let me know what He says.”
With a smug look on his face, he complied, probably assuming he’d find justification and would be buying his ticket the next day. The night fell silent and I prayed God would speak.
The sun rose and made its way across the sky to fall again before I broached the subject.
“Well, what did you hear?” I asked.
Long pause followed by a head dropping sigh.
“This.” He manipulated his phone and began to play a song to which the lyrics began:
“Be careful little eyes
what you see
It’s the second glance
that ties your hands
as darkness pulls the strings”
He continued, “I laid back on my bed and prayed, ‘God tell me what you want me to hear.’ After a bit, I was led to put my music on shuffle and press play. Out of hundreds of songs, secular and Christian, Casting Crowns led. I don’t think God wants me to go.”
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Thank you, Casting Crowns, for backing me up and challenging us all to be careful of the content that enters our being.