"And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Matthew 19:16-17
Of course, the answer to Christ’s puzzle was that he IS God. But in this little exchange Christ also makes an important point. The word “good” needs a baseline – and that baseline is God, alone. Being a “good” master or teacher is only possible when what is being taught is in line with God, His Word and His Commandments (Ex. 20-1-17), as Christ says.
We often misuse the word “good” when we make entertainment choices for ourselves and our family. Let’s break the "Shall Not's" of the commandments down to simple, modern terms: false religion, idols, swearing, missing church, disrespect for parents, murder, sexual immorality, illegal activity, lying, greed and materialism. This actually sounds like a list of things REQUIRED for MUCH of popular music, tv shows, video games, and children’s books.
Popular cartoons/card games encourage violence and materialism – with hints of the occult. We watch “American Idol” which shows young people trying to achieve “IDOL” status of popular music stars. And “idol” is the perfect word for what they are. Teenagers eagerly purchase magazines, posters, and CD’s from these stars and model their fashions and attitudes on what their “idol” says or does.
From cereal commercials to “The Simpsons”, from “Grand Theft Auto” games to MTV and the movies -- programming for children and teens is increasingly written to encourage the worst of anti-social behavior, immortality and violence. And yet, we happily tune-in, pay admission or purchase the product, sit back and proclaim it “good”.
SOMETHING HAS CHANGED
I often get angry letters from people who assert, “Kids know right from wrong! You don’t give kids enough credit!”
No, I guess I don’t… and frankly, neither does God. Read the news or just take a good look around at the evil being done every day by children, teens and adults in this world - we don't deserve any "credit". The Bible is full of instruction in right and wrong - BECAUSE we are slaves to the sinful natures we are born with.
Most importantly, children must be instructed and disciplined by their parents. They must be actively trained to adhere to a STANDARD of right and wrong if they are to grow up to be good adults. That IS the number one job of any parent. God gives strict instructions on parenthood:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Proverbs 22:15,
One of the problems we have in the world around us – with children killing and sexually assaulting other children – comes from parents who mistakenly think children are born good – and that “entertainment” will have little or no impact on their child’s moral compass. However, children are born with sin in their hearts – and the entertainment world is exposing children to worse and worse forms of human depravity and violence.
NOT MY CHILD?
Christian parents are not immune just because their children come to church. 2-3 hours of church a week will never counteract an entire weeks worth of godless entertainment. Public schools can’t even help - in today’s world, they are legally powerless to instill morals – even when discussing sexuality in the curriculum.
Be encouraged! Don’t fear that you might deprive your children or create resentment in them if you choose to limit their TV time, or some other form of entertainment. Some of the most well-adjusted, creative, and polite adults alive were similarly deprived as a child! Encourage your children to read a “good” book, play outside, or be creative! Whatever they do, always remind them that God is watching and wants them to fill their mind with good things.