Garbage In, Garbage Out

“Garbage in, garbage out.”

How many times have you heard that saying?  Perhaps your parents said it to you when you were young, or maybe you have used the saying when speaking with your own children.  Whatever the case, the truth remains the same: when you fill your brain with undesirable things, nothing good can come out of it. And what’s worse: the negative things with which we fill our heads can keep us from a close, meaningful relationship with God.

In a recent study (ICM, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, Adventist young people were asked if they were careful about the type of TV and movies they watch.  Fifty-six percent of young people said they were “always” or “often” careful; unfortunately, 17% of young people admitted that they are “rarely” or “never” careful.

The same study also asked young people if they were careful about exposing themselves to pornographic material – be it websites, pictures, or video clips.  A resounding 84% of young people indicated that they are “always” or “often” careful to not expose themselves to pornographic materials.  However, 7% indicated that they are “rarely” or “never” careful.

While we may feel comfortable that a strong majority of our young people are being mindful of the materials with which they fill their minds, it is disconcerting that there are still young people who are not being guarded in their entertainment choices.

The Bible reminds us many times how important it is that we are careful about the kind of things we watch and images we look at:

  • Matthew 6:22-23 - The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
  • Psalm 101: 3 - I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless…
  • Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

While this may feel like an uncomfortable topic to discuss with the young people in your church, it is vital that they receive this message!  When they are distracted by things of this world – sexually immoral images, violent movie scenes, alluring TV show story lines – they are unable to fix their eyes totally and completely on Jesus.  They are unable to dive into a deep, meaningful relationship with Him when they are thinking about sordid images on their computer screens or are fixated on unrealistic expectations portrayed in the movies. 

And without knowing Jesus, our young people will be without hope. Sure, the cheap imitations that the world offers will be a distraction for a time, but the world offers nothing that is lasting – nothing that offers true fulfillment.  Jesus is the only source for true, everlasting hope!

It’s time to make some changes in how our young people approach media and entertainment!  How are you going to help the youth in your church fill their heads with things of Heaven instead of worldly “garbage?”