The Link Between Ungodly Entertainment and Fornication
by David Dann
via Truth Magazine, Vol. 52, No. 2, Feb. 2008.
The apostle Paul warned the young man, Timothy, saying, "Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (II Timothy 2:22). It is obvious from Paul's instruction that in order to avoid sexual sin one must focus on that which is pure.
This connection is made clear in that this same apostle, who warns us to "flee sexual immorality" (I Corinthians 6:18), also writes, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things" (Philippians 4:8). The simple fact is that the things that occupy our minds are very likely to end up being the same kinds of things that occupy our time.
Recent studies confirm what the Bible has said all along when it come to the connection between what we focus on and how we act.The results of a study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported in 2004 that teenagers who watch a lot of television with sexual content are twice as likely to engage in sexual activity than those who watch few programs with sexual content. According to Rebecca Collins, the psychologist who headed the study, "This is the strongest evidence yet that the sexual content of television programs encourages adolescents to initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual activities." The study covered 1,792 adolescents between the ages of twelve and seventeen.
Similarly, a study conducted by the University of North Carolina which covered 1,017 adolescents when they were ages twelve to fourteen and then again two years later, reported in 2006 that those exposed to the highest levels of sexual content in music, magazines, television, and movies became involved in the most sexual activity. According to Jane Brown, the chief author of the report, "This is the first time we've shown that the more kids are exposed to sex in media the earlier they have sex." Neither study included exposure to the Internet.
What can we learn from these studies?
Teenagers Are Involved in Sexual Activity
Sin was so rampant in the time of Jeremiah that the people "were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush" (Jeremiah 6:15). Is it shocking to read about the young ages of the children involved in these studies? Or, have we gotten used to it? We should be outraged at the thought of fourteen year olds committing fornication for a variety of reasons. Yes, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are likely to result from those activities. But the greater problem is that young people in our society are corrupting themselves at ever earlier ages while getting a head-start down the path that leads to eternal destruction in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).
Television, Movies, Music, and the Internet Are Influencing Teenagers
Is it a surprise that these things are affecting not only the thinking, but also the actions of young people? it shouldn't be. As the proverb writer asks, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Proverbs 6:27). The one who says, "I can watch that stuff without it affecting me" is either very foolish, very ignorant, or both. Exposure to sexual content in the media accomplishes two things. First, it trains the mind to dwell upon and lust for that which is wrong and sinful (see Matthew 5:27,28). And secondly, it convinces those partaking of it that sexually immoral behavior is perfectly normal and acceptable.
The Situation Is Even Worse Than the Studies Indicate
While the news reported in these studies is terrible, the reality is likely far worse simply based upon the fact that neither study included the impact of the Internet. While sexually charged viewing is available on television at various times, the perversion of pornography is available on the internet twenty- four hours a day, seven days a week. When the heart is filled with filth the heart will produce filth. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders" (Mark 7:21).
These Things Are Not Just Teenage Problems
Though the studies focused on those between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the problem is not theirs alone. Who is allowing these kids to fill their minds with immoral entertainment? God's rule for the home is that children are to be raised "In the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Parents, what will you do about your children? Are you sitting idly by while your children feed on filth? Are you setting the right example by staying away from ungodly entertainment yourself? The responsibility for dealing with this situation falls not only on the young people involved, but also squarely on the shoulders of each parent. And, though these recent studies were limited to teenagers, do not think that ungodly entertainment only affects the behavior of teenagers.
The recently reported studies tell us what is going on among young people in the world. However, we need to be reminded that we are not to be conformed to the ways of the world (Romans 12:1,2). What are you allowing to fill your your mind and the minds of your teenagers?