Shocked into Reality

During an intense battle, Alexander the Great noticed that a number of his men had put themselves at a disadvantage by wearing long flowing beards. Alexander knew that long full beards were an expression of manliness, but after witnessing several men being yanked by the beard onto the point of a sword, he gave the order forbidding any manner of facial hair.

As expected, the men grumbled. They sat around the campfires that night complaining about the order that would rid them of their proudly-maintained beards, all claiming that their beards had never given them any cause for concern. Unfortunately they were right. For those who had recognized the problem, the yank of the beard and the thrust of the sword, recognition had come too late.

Have you awakened to find that your views no longer resemble those carefully thought out in years past? Definite views on matters of the day all altered without your knowledge? Perhaps you too have had your views reshaped by the cultural and media elite?

Through their performances, lyrics and music, presentations and publicized life styles, the cultural and media elite open us up to ideas previously foreign and often offensive to what is our true nature or desire. By radio, television, and the popular press we invite into our homes the caricatures of individuals with whom we would never associate; take our children into neighborhoods otherwise forbidden and expose them to the details of banned conduct; we offer our homes as temples of inculcation into a lifestyle we otherwise guard against; and we listen to repeated use of our Lord's name in vain. That we could ever entertain the enemy of our Lord is a mystery. Yet it happens daily as we ascribe to the elite a trust they do not deserve and a virtue they do not want. For all the good the media could do we are told that it merely mirrors the real world; it has no responsibility to effect change. Yet it has not always been so; the elite have not always thought so.

As a youth, I learned virtue from the caricatures of Captain Kangaroo, Superman, Daniel Boone; the commentaries of Paul Harvey; portrayals by Sidney Poitier, Mickey Rooney, Harry Belafonte, the humor of Bill Cosby, Red Skelton; the music of Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Mahalia Jackson. And the entertainment industry held some things sacred--attacks against the Church were not the rule. Christians were not singled out to receive ridicule or serve as the butt of jokes for the entertainment of others as is now the case.

More so today than ever before we have a responsibility to screen out thoughts and ideas having the potential of hindering our progress. Proverb 4:23 advises us, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." The Proverb proclaims a Christian obligation that is hard to meet in the face of constant bombardment of ideas from those not guided by Christian principles. Yet, within the home we can identify and eliminate those programs or broadcasts which are not helpful and are to be avoided. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to lay aside any weight which might hinder us. Every weight is not a sin; but if we are to be the successful people God has called us to be, we must ensure our success by screening out anything that might serve as a hindrance. Hindrance is a very small word to those trying to hold on to what has become dear. Thus, it is probably best to define hindrance as anything that does not add value to our mission or purpose. By doing this, we will not have to wait until the failure is manifested. Rather, we can take action now to ward off the otherwise imminent failure. And we must begin now, lest one day we awake to be shocked into reality.

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