Sometimes I think Christians get confused over what they should and shouldn’t be offended by.
Growing Up “Sheltered”
I grew up in a rather strict, conservative Christian home. My parents were fairly picky about what they allowed into our home. Especially when it came to TV and movies.
For a significant chunk of my life, we had something called TV Guardian. It was a device that worked with television and our DVD player to use closed caption to mute and replace vulgarity.
Not long after we started using this, we got something called ClearPlay, which my husband and I now have. It’s a filtering system for DVDs. You can set it on low to high settings on a variety of categories anywhere from disrespecting parents to graphic sexuality. It not only mutes certain words, but also splices scenes in an almost unnoticeable way.
There were times growing up that I was embarrassed watching TV with friends. They would either laugh or be annoyed whenever the system would mute and offer a replacement.
Some of it was funny. If someone said, “You’re awkward around the opposite sex,” we’d get, “You’re awkward around the opposite hugs.”
But my parents were always excellent at explaining to my brother and I why we weren’t allowed to do or watch or hear certain things. And I understood. We knew what all the cuss words were and what they meant. We weren’t shell-shocked when we heard them at school. We understood why it’s not healthy to watch sex and nudity.
And I’m so thankful for those things. I’m not the most conservative Christian you’ll ever meet – I went to a public high school and I enjoy wearing skinny jeans – but I’m glad to have endured some embarrassment among high school friends to have gained an understanding of certain standards of purity that align with the verse where God explains that what we put in comes out, and what comes out reveals our true heart. (Proverbs 4:23)
Permissible or Beneficial?
Let me say here, I don’t think you’re a horrible sinner if you watch shows with cussing. My husband and I watch certain shows without filtering systems. It’s wise to be cautious, but it’s also nearly unavoidable and won’t mean that hearing vulgarity is going to corrupt you. The best thing to be said here is “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 10:23). The most important thing is for you to have a clear conscience between yourself and God.
Now let me get to the point:
What Offends You More?
Not long ago, we had a get-together at my parents’. One lady present was watching TV with us. The TVG was kicking in a lot, and every single time she would either squeal or urgently express her frustration at the inconvenience. She would even shout, “There’s no way they’re saying this much!”
What caught my attention was that she was expressing more frustration at the inconvenience of a system put in place by a family who personally valued guarding their ears in this way, than she was frustrated by the fact the primetime TV show had such a large, “acceptable” amount of vulgarity. She was more disturbed by how the system must clearly be malfunctioning than by the fact that she was so desensitized to TV characters taking the Lord’s Name in vain.
I’m definitely not saying everyone has to get a ClearPlay and hook up TV Guardians. I’m not even one who’s going to preach that all “cussing” is sin, as I explained last week.
What I am suggesting is that it might be time to take a look inside ourselves and a re-sensitized look at what we watch.
Is it okay that we don’t even notice cussing?
Is it okay that we don’t feel even a prick of discomfort when someone used the Name of our Savior as a curse or uncontrolled, negative exclamation?
I just think that sometimes, as we drown ourself in all of our conveniences, and parade around waving the banners of religious and humanitarian causes, it’s all to easy to forget the second part of James 1:27:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
What are your thoughts on cussing, taking the Lord’s Name in vain, and listening to it?