By John J. Blanchard
January 4, 2014
Typically when a new year starts people like to make what’s called New Year’s resolutions. Often that involves weight loss, getting into shape, or getting out of debt. There is a variety of very common themes at the start of the new year that people like to resolve to do during the course of the year. This year I want to propose something critical to your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, as well as my own and also to that of our nation’s health or whatever nation you happen to be tying in from or listening from. This is the resolution: resolve in 2014 to fight filth.
The nations of the Western world are literally being overwhelmed with filth. There is filthy TV, filthy movies, filthy video games, filthy books, and filthy music. It is a veritable flood of filth. This is my personal definition of filth. Filth is the depiction of violence, sex, and perversion that break God’s laws and demeans the human race. That’s my definition. It is not perhaps the one that you would find in the dictionary.
I, for one, am sick and tired of the mind games people play about the effects of filth to justify and to rationalize the production of all the things that I just mentioned. I am going to summarize with a couple of quotes you may have heard the like of. “There is no direct connection between violent programs, video games, and movies and youth violence.” I have heard these so-called Hollywood experts come out with that one or variations of it many times. I also have often heard that, “Artists whether actors or performers have the right of freedom of expression and speech.” “They have the right to express themselves.” I have heard many variations of these two ideas.
There have been many studies that have found links between violent games and programs and violence, particularly among young people. I don’t want to go through this sermon quoting this study and that study and this statistic and that statistic, because it seems there always can be a study by some odd group somewhere to contradict it or some psychologist or scientist who would put out another point of view minimizing the effects that we see.
Someday I do believe the debate on the effects of filth will be exposed in the same way the debate on the effects of cigarette smoke was debated in the 1950s and 1960s. The companies producing cigarettes would sponsor studies that said you could not find any link between lung cancer, for instance, and cigarette smoking. They would go through various studies that they would fund and have various experts on that would back their opinion. It worked for several decades until finally the evidence was so overwhelming and they looked so foolish that they had to abandon that line of thinking. I do believe it will be the same thing about filth someday. Then to our shame we will have to admit that millions of lives were negatively impacted for many years and that thousands of people paid for it with their lives or in various forms of suffering because we persisted in allowing those thoughts to influence both legislation and public opinion that there are no direct links between violence and filth and human behavior.
OBSERVATIONS ON FILTH
I do want to share some personal observations that I have had and that I have heard other people express. I am sure you have heard the same thing from time to time yourselves, but I want to mention some of the observations that I have seen. The first observation is when young people are involved in mass murders, they almost always have been hooked on or are fascinated by violent video games and programs. This comes out time and time again after some mass killing that they were involved with these types of entertainment.
The second observation, speaking of these murderers, is that they do seem to be getting younger all the time, so something is affecting them. Many years ago a murderer was often at least an adult young man and usually a man. They were not just an adult or a young man. As they got older—because of anger or some philosophical belief—they felt pushed to it. But now you see many mass killings especially in schools, movie theaters, and malls that are done by very young people who are enamored of violent games and entertainment.
The third observation: Programs and games are getting more violent and weirder all the time. It seems as if it is a constant stream of violence, perverted violence, and horror that is being produced by Hollywood. The TV programs and the video games are getting worse all the time. The graphics are getting more realistic, and it is a trend. That’s what I have observed.
Observation number four: Modern entertainment often demeans women. It’s the lyrics, especially the rap music. Many of the modern lyrics to songs, programs, and movies demean women, but also the way certain women themselves entertain the rest of society. Many names come to mind, but to mention a few of notoriety of late, you might say, are Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, etc. It seems as if women entertaining for the rest of society are often cheapening womanhood just by the way they act on stage and the songs that they sing and the lyrics that they use.
The fifth observation: The effect of all of this type of entertainment and these programs has been very apparent in young girls and young adult women. As the past generation like my mother’s time would have said, they act coarse, cheap, and tough. And of course scientifically speaking—or observations based on studies you might say—they are becoming sexually active at a younger and younger age.
The sixth observation: Many if not most young adults choose to live together without the security of marriage. This is an explosive trend that has led to the next observation that throughout Western countries there is an explosion of single parent homes. They are mostly run by women and young girls who are attempting to raise children. There have been many books written by authors like Charles Murray expressing statistic after statistic about how single parent homes are devastating to the next generation. They really have a terrible impact on the lives that those young children will lead.
FIGHT FILTH ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL
Entered into this whole picture is this strange episode of late called the Duck Dynasty controversy. It’s a program I must say I have never seen, but I have seen it now expressed in the newspapers and on the news. There is a huge controversy about a few comments that the star of Duck Dynasty made whose name is Phil Robertson. He has made comments equating certain behaviors and the concept of sin. Whether he said it in the most diplomatic terms or whatever is not what I am discussing. It is just the idea that he tied certain behaviors to sin and said they go against Christian principles and the Bible. For that there was a huge backlash by various groups defensive of their various sins, so much so that Phil Robertson was put on temporary hiatus or suspension from the program. That resulted in another very positive backlash, I think, which sort of led to this Bible study. That is, millions of people complained and they complained so vociferously that the man was dropped because they thought it was a more wholesome program on television than most of the other programs that are on. Since these millions of people joined their voices together and complained, his program is being re-instated. I thought that was a positive outcome: people standing against filth.
The point of this whole Bible study is that we can also fight filth, but it starts on an individual level. Phil Robertson had a big platform because he is famous and he is wealthy, but it was all the little people who joined together to say, hey, wait a minute! You can’t get away with doing this! That’s what resulted in a movement and getting the producers of that program to back off their position and re-instate Mr. Robertson. I actually felt that was a positive moral outcome. It led me to think that if more of us would stand up more often against filth, we could start turning back this wave of filth that is washing over our countries.
One voice is just one voice. But when many people pick up the chorus, it becomes too loud to ignore. When it leads to action like people boycotting products or programs, it can have positive change, and it starts with individuals making a personal choice.
God’s word is the source of knowledge, and I believe that was the crux of the controversy. Mr. Robertson was using the Bible as his position saying, here is what God says about sin. I want to go through some Scriptures about violence and about sexual sin, so that we can draw from God’s word and see that we really must stand for God, His word, and the Bible by doing something on an individual level.
SCRIPTURES ABOUT VIOLENCE
I want to start in the Book of Psalms. If you would, turn to Psalms chapter 7 beginning in verse 14: “Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood. He made a pit and dug it out, and has fallen into the ditch which he made. His trouble shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.”
I do believe that so often we see this very Scripture fulfilled, because so many rappers who sing about violence and the degradation of women end up themselves suffering a violent death. Many artists, as they call themselves, who entertain the world with sexual explicit lyrics or behavior on stage or whatever meet violent ends, or they die from drug overdoses or self-inflicted wounds. It is enough that it is startling. I do believe this Scripture is backed up by the fact that living a life like that one will pay with certain consequences. We can see it even in the fact that a lot of them can’t seem to stay married to the same person very long. They are fathering children out of wedlock, and their lives are a mess.
Let’s now turn to Psalms 140. I am going to read a few verses starting in verse 9. Psalm 140, verse 9: “‘As for the head of those who surround me, let the evil of their lips cover them; let burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the fire, into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not a slanderer be established in the earth; let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him.’ I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.”
I do believe that God has set certain things in motion like the law of gravity that if you live a certain way, certain harms will befall you. But the sad thing is when entertainers are looked up to by young people and when these sins are portrayed as funny or glamorous or somehow acceptable, it harms other people. God says here that He will help the just person, and He will allow the problems and the things that these debase people espouse actually fall upon them. Unfortunately, these sorts of things are like a cancer that spreads, and they infect more and more people, so more and more people fall underneath this sort of a judgment. That’s not me talking, that’s the Bible.
We want young people to grow up to lead wholesome lives and be blessed and not encounter problem after problem, disappointment after disappointment and sometimes terrible suffering because as a society we pushed certain ways of behavior on them, and they accepted them. In their ignorance as young people, they accepted it and thought this is life. This is the way it’s supposed to be.
Going forward to Proverbs chapter 14, we will read verse 15: “The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps. A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated.”
We can see the contrast between the wise person analyzing these behaviors and deciding that’s not the way we are supposed to live. But a simple person, or in other words someone who has grown up without this knowledge inculcated into them and taught to them, can simply fall into the ways of these people who promote these lifestyles. Then they find themselves living those lifestyles and like it says here, becoming foolish in their own lives.
So many of these rappers are quick-tempered individuals. Actors and actresses are quick tempered. We see them often getting arrested for trying to be above the law. I am generalizing here. They actually get to believe that it’s okay to live the way they want to with no consequences and ignoring God’s word and ignoring His admonitions. This is what we see over and over again in our society.
God says if we live wisely and we teach our young people to live wisely, they will discern the wise way from the foolish way and be blessed for it.
Turn to Proverbs chapter 16 just a couple pages over. Proverbs 16, verse 29: “A violent man entices his neighbor, and leads him in a way that is not good. He winks his eye to devise perverse things; he purses his lips and brings about evil.”
That’s what I find so often today. The violence that is portrayed in movies or on television or in video games has to originate in someone’s mind. It is someone who is enticing the young people to buy the product or to live the lifestyle, and unfortunately it brings evil into their lives by the thoughts that are in their own minds. Then they make this so alluring for the young people that before you know it, they are drawn in and sometimes addicted to these games. Then as we see in the news, they go out and enact it themselves, wreaking havoc on society.
God sees these things, and He is fed up with it. I do believe anybody who claims to be Christian must also be fed up with it. But we have to be more than just upset. We have to do something.
Turn to Proverbs chapter 29. We are dealing now with basically what God has to say against violence, anger, and hatred, and then we will go on to sexual sin. I want to use a closing Scripture on the violent part here. Proverbs 29, verse 22: “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.”
It seems as if so many of our famous people—you might say people who should know better—have this short temper. Whether they are movie stars, actors, actresses, or people who are in the limelight like sports figures, they have this short temper or quick fuse. They are looked up to by these young people as if it is acceptable to live life bashing people and throwing their weight around, demanding that people respond to them as a selfish individual. They think it is acceptable to give them all the adulation they want, the money they want, and the fame they want. It has gotten out of hand. The day and age of a humble athlete seems to be gone. When you do run into one, they are such a breath of fresh air to see a famous athlete or a famous movie actor or actress who is actually humble about their talents and not flaunting themselves. That’s what God wants. He wants humility. He wants us to feel that what blessings we have are gifts and then to use them to benefit society and not to tear society down.
SCRIPTURES ON SEXUAL SIN
There are also many Scriptures that show what’s wrong with this sexually abhorrent behavior that is so prolific today. Once again, turning to Proverbs, we will back up to Proverbs chapter 9, verse 13: “A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, and knows nothing. For she sits at the door of her house, on a seat by the highest places of the city, to call to those who pass by, who go straight on their way: ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here’; and as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.”
It is speaking of an immoral woman back in the day enticing young men to fool around with her and of course spreading disease and other problems. It is saying that the young men fall for this. Back in the days when it was basically one on one contact, a young man could stay away from certain neighborhoods and certain homes and be safe, but today it’s not like that. With television, movies, video games, Facebook, and all the various things that are out there, an immoral woman can impact millions and millions of people and have a negative impact on both young men and young women way beyond the power of what was possible say 50 or 100 years ago and beyond. That’s a lot of power, in a way, but it is a negative influence. It is a dark influence on society.
Turn back a couple of pages to Proverbs chapter 7, beginning in verse 1: “My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call understanding your nearest kin, that they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words.”
A modern day actress or entertainer can be fulfilling the role of a loose woman on an individual basis years ago, only now they affect the hearts and minds of millions of young men and millions of young women. This cheapens the role of young women and harms the minds of young men. It is a power that we should not allow in the hands of immoral people, but since we live in a free society, it is really up to us to make the decision. Are we going to fight the filth that is harming our marriages, our families, and our nations? Are we going to fight the filth on an individual level, or are we going to put up with it and allow it? Are we going to allow it into our homes, into our minds, into our computers, into our smart phones, and into our headsets? We do have tremendous power as was evidenced in this whole episode with Phil Robertson, if more people would have the courage and the fortitude to stand up to the filth. We can effect change. We are not helpless.
Let’s turn to Proverbs chapter 5 and get some more wisdom from God. We are going to read the whole chapter of Proverbs 5. It is not very long. “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.”
God says, listen to My word. Read My word, as we are doing right now in Proverbs.
He says in verse 3 of Proverbs 5: “For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life—her ways are unstable; you do not know them.”
This immorality sweeping the country does lead to tremendous instability in the families. Families are breaking apart. Children are being raised in poverty. It is an unstable society because we allow this seductress over the air waves, over the TV channels, and over the movies to have an impact on our families.
Continuing in verse 7 of Proverbs 5: “Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one…”
How many young people’s lives are being cut short by these behaviors whether it is by disease, or depression that sometimes leads them to take their own lives, or them foisting violence on others and them ending their own life? How many people have gone to prison because of these behaviors? The damage that is being done is incalculable.
Continuing in verse 9: “…lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one; lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner; and you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed, and say: ‘How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation.’”
Many people are going to say, I should have listened to what the Bible had to say about that way of life. When you are going down that track of perversion and filth, it seems exciting, titillating, and fun until you get a disease or until you suffer enough depression or until your marriage falls apart or until you see your children making terrible choices. Then you feel awful. That’s the part Satan hides from you at the beginning. He wants you to embark on that and get stuck in a rut and then go down that path that so many have gone down, right to their own ruin.
Verse 15: “Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well.”
In other words, stay with your own spouse.
Verse 16: “Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?”
That’s definitely applicable to today. Why should people not be enraptured with their own spouse or their own fianceé or future wife? Treat her with respect before marriage and with respect after marriage, not letting a seductress into your home through various forms of entertainment. This harms the relations between husband and wife and between parents and children.
Continuing in verse 21: “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”
It is sad to see so many people of note who have their lives self-destruct and their marriages fall apart. It is even sadder that because of their position before the public that they can have that same impact on other people’s lives and encourage other people’s lives to self-destruct. This is what is maddening. This is what is sickening. This is what happens when you allow their freedom of expression to ruin the lives of our children and to ruin marriages across the country. It harms people’s psyche and depresses them whether it’s with violence or sexual behaviors or perversion. It is something that we need to get mad enough about that we do something on an individual level. If enough of us do it, it will have an impact, and society will change for the better.
DO NOT LET SOCIETY CHOOSE OUR PATH
Back up now to Proverbs chapter 2. Once again we are going to read this whole Proverb. It’s not long. We will seek God’s wisdom and advice and learn to apply it to our lives. Proverbs 2, verse 1: “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver; and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is as shield to those who walk uprightly…”
It starts with us seeking it and wanting it. We have to want God’s wisdom and let it become a part of us.
Continuing in verse 8 of Proverbs 2: “…He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path.”
We won’t let society choose the path for our young children. We won’t let society choose the path for us by putting so much temptation in front of us that we slip down these dark paths to our own ruin.
Verse 10: “When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths; to deliver you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words, who forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. For her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead; none who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life—so you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness. For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the earth, and the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.”
It is a matter of choice. We need to let God’s wisdom, His understanding, and His truth dwell in us. If we seek that wisdom and want to live it, He says, I will protect you. I will protect you from the seductress and from the violent man and his devious ways. But we have to shut the button off on the TV or play a different game or read different books. We have to make the choice to stay away. We can’t keep asking for wisdom and protection and keep allowing these things into our homes and into our minds. It is counterproductive, it’s schizophrenic, and it is a divided heart and soul. We can’t allow that if we want to stay morally, spiritually, and physically healthy and strong.
REFUSE TO SUPPORT FILTH
You and I can make a difference if we stand up for the truth, abide in the truth, and refuse to support the programs, the producers, and the sponsors of various lifestyles through the media. We can say—like the ten million or so who stood up when Phil Robertson was unceremoniously canned by A&E—enough is enough. I am not going to buy that product. I am not going to support that sponsor as long as they support evil and darkness and sin.
If we do those things, we are helping—starting on an individual level. Individually we will feel better, and our families will be blessed right away. We are not going to have sin coming into our homes tempting us and darkness affecting the light that should be shining from each of us. We are supposed to be the light of the world. We can’t let darkness in and still shine brightly. We have control.
If enough people join this, you watch what will happen. More and more companies will tow the line. It almost always comes down to money. If they feel a loss of revenue, they will change. The only ones who can make them feel a loss of revenue are the common people. There are enough people with decent values. They may not have the same Christian beliefs or doctrines that we have. From group to group they vary. They do have certain core principles that have been taught as Christian values for 2,000 years, such as, a husband and wife living together raising children, sound families fighting off temptation and evil, and trying to improve themselves. These are Christian values that we need to bring back, and they need to come back as a flood of their own, so to speak, to turn back the flood of filth.
In 2014 let’s each resolve to fight filth in our lives and resolve to help society fight filth.