Galatians 6:8 “For what a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows in the flesh, from the flesh also he will reap corruption. But he who sows in the spirit, from the spirit he will reap life everlasting. “
Philippians 4:8 "For the rest, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things.”
A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries, and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill, and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.
The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up -- while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places -- go to her room and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions.
But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house-not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home -- not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (too much, too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger. As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.
More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. But if I were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name? We always just called him . . . . TV.
The saying, "what you reap is what you sow," is so very true. There are so many things in this world today that we can allow to influence our minds. It's hard as a Christian to be discerning, but Christ has come so that we may know the truth. Through all the ways the media affects our lives directly today, it's more than easy for them to seep their message of lies and hate into our hearts. In this story, as we read through, we think, "What kind of good Christian parent would let their child be subjected to someone who is so immoral much less bring it into their own home, yet as we read on we see that most of us if not all of us have brought this same guest into our households. Some things that they tell us are harmless and maybe even helpful, but as the years go by, it gets harder and harder to find those things. I pray that we as Christians will stand to be men, women, boys, and girls of integrity and allow only the things that are good and of God, and reap and sow in our lives.