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Miranda Writes: What’s Wrong With Harry?




by Omar Miranda

God doesn’t want you involved with anything related to witchcraft, wizards, the occult, etc.!

“Give it back!” We all heard anguished screaming and arguing echoing down the once-peaceful hall in the guy’s dorm. It was my sophomore year in academy, and it was 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning. All of us guys had been sound asleep before the noise started.

I groggily stepped out into the hall only to be hit in the side by a flying chair! Oh, I was awake now—and mad! I looked across the hall and saw a guy I barely knew. He was new that semester and kept to himself. He and our guy’s dean were in the battle of their lives over something. I couldn’t make out what it was. What could be so important that this guy would risk getting suspended or kicked out of school? Then I saw it—a spiral notebook and a pen! What could it contain? Maybe a private note written to a girl?

Once the dean had the guy restrained, he told all of us onlookers to go back to bed. We were consumed with curiosity! The next morning, there was an emergency meeting to discuss this student and what had happened in the middle of the night.

Apparently, he had become obsessed with playing a role-playing game called Dungeons & Dragons—to the point that he stopped doing other things, necessary things such as going to class, working, eating, sleeping! But it didn’t stop there. Earlier that fateful Friday evening, our dean had found him using his computer to play the game and create several of his characters. Dean had taken away his computer, so the student decided to use his typewriter to continue playing this game. When that was confiscated, he resorted to his notebook and pen. And that’s when the battle woke up all of us.

To make matters worse, this student had begun to practice a type of witchcraft called Wicca, or white magic, and had begun to “educate” other students, as well. He always wore black clothes and was very serious all the time.

At this point I want to clarify my position: I’m not saying that everyone who participates in role-playing games (now called massively multiplayer role-playing games, or MMPRPG) such as World of Warcraft and other popular games is going to start practicing witchcraft like the guy at my academy did.

That was a worst-case scenario.

However, I am saying that God doesn’t want you to involve yourself with anything having to do with witchcraft, sorcery, wizards, the occult, etc. Period! That means Harry Potter books and movies; Twilight books and movies; TV shows such as Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Ghost Hunters; and any other similar books, movies,  TV shows, and games—video, online, and otherwise (including Ouija boards).

Let’s take a look at what God says in the Bible:

“Do not practice divination or sorcery” (Leviticus 19:26, NIV).1
“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:31, NIV).

“I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people. Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy” (Leviticus 20:6-8, NIV).

“A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads” (Leviticus 20:27, NIV).

These are just some of the many Bible verses on this subject. At this point you may be asking, “What’s the big deal? Why can’t I enjoy these forms of entertainment? It’s not like I’m going to start worshipping the devil or any-thing!”
There are several different reasons, the most important being that God has asked us not to. If we love God, we’ll be happy to obey Him—even if we don’t understand why He’s prohibited something. We’ll obey Him because we believe that He knows best and that He always has our best interest at heart. When God says “Don’t,” He’s really saying “Don’t hurt yourself!” Read on to discover the other reasons God says no to Harry Potter.

Many times when people get involved in the supernatural, the paranormal, the occult, or witchcraft, they do it to gather knowledge and/or power that others don’t have—to make themselves special or to try to gain control over others. But God wants us to get knowledge and power only from Him. He doesn’t want us to make gods of anyone or anything else—whether it’s ourselves (which is the draw with MMPRPGs) or the forces of nature or the earth (wicca, paganism, and/or witchcraft). The first commandment that God gave us is found in Exodus 20:3: “You must not have any other god but me” (NLT).2

When we get involved in occult practices, we try to do an end run around God and make ourselves powerful without Him. We aspire to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5, NIV). That’s the idea that the Harry Potter books and movies promote—overcoming the powers of darkness by being able to control white (good) magic ourselves.

There are other reasons this type of enter-tainment is dangerous:

Regarding those MMPRPGs such as World of Warcraft, getting involved in something that allows you to create characters and people and give them certain quirks, characteristics, and powers actually begins to fool people into thinking that fantasy is in fact reality. Life is complex and confusing enough without adding that extra problem!

When you get involved in watching, reading, or playing things related to witchcraft, etc., you automatically give Satan and his evil angels (demons) the green light to waltz right into your life and—more dangerously—into your mind and begin to set up shop there. Again, I’m not saying that just because you watch or read or play these types of things you’re going to be instantly possessed by demons. But little by little, bit by bit, the devil will get his hooks in you and begin to lead you away from God and from your desire to follow Him.

Leviticus 20:7, 8 says: “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy” (NIV). If we love God, we want to be holy like Him. And if we turn our life over to Him, He gives us the power to be holy—to be different from the world—and to witness for Him. Your life and my life may be the only “Bible” or “Jesus” that some people ever see, so we need to strive to live in a way that represents Him well and doesn’t make Him look bad.

When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  hits theaters this month, some of you will no doubt be very tempted to go see it (or to see it on DVD later). But please talk it over with God and do some serious soul-searching before you decide. And while you’re at it, review all of your entertainment habits and see if there are other things that God is asking you to walk away from as you draw closer to Him.

Right now you may be asking, “What kind of entertainment is OK for Christians?” Well again, the Bible has the answer for us. It’s found in  Philippians 4:8: “Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise” (CEV).3

Not sure what types of games, TV shows, movies, reading materials, etc, fall into this category? Ask someone. Ask your mom/dad, brother/sister, a godly friend, pastor/youth pastor, teacher, school counselor, or some other trusted adult. Pray daily that God will give you the wisdom to make good choices and the strength to stick to them.

In addition, you might need to choose new friends. You heard me right! If your current friends want to do things that you know will undermine your relationship with God, then you need new friends who are also committed to God. As Jesus said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother [or friends] more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37, NIV).

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

1Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
2Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
3Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column Miranda Writes.
 





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