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Miranda Writes: “Daddy, That Lady’s Immodest!”




by Omar Miranda



[Editors’ note: This week’s column has something for both you and your parents to chew on.]

I was thinking recently about an incident that happened several years ago as I was enjoying the Super Bowl with my family. I experienced all but the last eight minutes of the game sitting within earshot, not eye-shot (I made that word up, but you get the idea). Let me tell you, the things I learned during those eight minutes will never be forgotten by me . . . nor my daughter!

I’d like to tell you what happened and then tell you six things: (1) why I sat where I sat; (2) what I saw during the last eight minutes; (3) what my daughter said; (4) how I reacted and how I felt; (5) what I learned; and (6) how it relates to living as a Christian in this world and culture.

First, here’s what happened. Toward the end of the game, about 10 seconds of eye-popping pornographic images flashed across the screen. First of all, let me say that I am thankful that I didn’t see that filth—given the fact that I am a recovering porn addict! That’s the main reason I didn’t sit where I could see the TV. The game sounded exciting, but I didn’t want to expose my sensitive eyes and brain to all those inappropriate sexualized images on the commercials. But as the game continued and I saw my wife’s apparent excitement mixed with tension, I began to miss her and wanted to sit with her. However, she was sitting right in front of the TV. So I thought to myself, You know, surely the majority of the commercials have already passed, and now there will be nothing but boring regular commercials. I reasoned wrongly that the advertisers would want to put all their racy commercials during the beginning and middle of the game, so I gingerly got up and sat down beside my wife. Boy, was I ever wrong!

At this point our then-7-year-old daughter had come downstairs to be with the “grown-ups,” because as she said when asked why she came down, “Daddy, it just sounded like all you old people were having more fun than us kids, and I wanted to know what was so fun!” Remember, she’s 7 . . . and life is all about what’s fun for her (for some of us, that’s never really changed—but that’s another topic for another time). Anyhow, here we all were. I was happy because I was holding my wife’s hand . . . and then it happened: there was a time-out, and a commercial flashed on the screen. To make a long story short: it was a Go Daddy commercial and constituted several people questioning a female. All of the dialogue was inappropriate and full of double entendres. Then near the very end of the commercial a woman stands up wearing something that was way too tight and way too low and makes a statement. If you watched the Super Bowl, you no doubt know of which commercial I am referring to (by the way, the advertisers are hoping that you will remember; that’s the point).

Normally I would have looked away, closed my eyes and ears, or done something to keep that filth from entering my brain! But honestly, I was absolutely stunned! I was totally in shock. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity. But it was probably more like five seconds. I felt as though I had just been punched in the stomach by the Hulk! I mean, I was speechless. And to make matters worse, I realized that my daughter was sitting at my feet and saw the entire thing! As soon as the commercial finished and the game started again, she blurted out, “Daddy, that lady’s immodest!” I totally overreacted! I looked at my daughter with embarrassment and in frustration responded apologetically to all the people present, “You’ll have to excuse my daughter,” as I efficiently swished her out of the room.

I pulled her close to me and discussed with her the importance of being modest not just in what we wear, but in what we say and what we do. She nodded in agreement. We prayed that God would clean our brains of the images that we saw and heard, and I hugged and kissed my daughter. I was proud of myself, because I had turned a negative incident into a positive teaching moment. Andy Griffith would have been proud! After we returned to the game, I sat there and thought and thought and thought about what had just happened. I was reeling! In the past several minutes, I had dealt with four distinct emotions: first shock, then embarrassment, then anger, then deep sadness. Let me explain.

I was first shocked by what I saw. I couldn’t believe that the networks would allow that sort of filthy language and images on the screen! I was then embarrassed not only that my daughter said what she said, but more important, I was embarrassed that she and I were the only ones that seemed fazed and surprised by what we had experienced! The more I got to thinking about it, the more I realized that people weren’t bothered by that stuff because they’ve been conditioned not to even notice it anymore. They’ve been inoculated against it. I think it would be wise at this point for me to again issue this disclaimer: I am a recovering sex/porn addict. I am extremely careful about what I watch, read, and look at. Not because I want to be, but because I have to be. My spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical health depends upon it. I’m not trying to be a “Super Christian” or say that I’m better than anybody else, but I know that this is what God has convicted me of and so that’s what I do. And I do it ultimately because I love God and want to do what makes Him happy, because I know that in the end, I will be the happiest that I can be. I can’t say that I love God and continue to live like I used to live. That’s not how it works. If I don’t do what God has told me to do, then I can’t go deeper in my relationship with Him.

After my shock and embarrassment, I then became angry because my beautiful and innocent daughter’s brain would never be the same. My wife and I have always been careful to shelter my daughter from stuff like this, but this one got through. She was exposed to that one filthy image, and it will forever be locked in her brain. And if we don’t protect her and teach her to be discerning about what she looks at, the cumulative effect of those pornographic images could, research shows, drive her to some specific sexual acting-out behaviors. Research shows that when kids—specifically boys—look at pornographic images, it could actually speed up the loss of their virginity by three to four years! Why? Because, the researchers say, kids are more likely to imitate what they see. That information makes me angry because my daughter is being raised in a culture that is overtly sexualized and in a culture in which people don’t seem to notice or care that children and teens are exposed to that mess!

Last, I have become extremely sad at the fact that adults, and Christians specifically, for the most part don’t and/or won’t make changes to things they watch on TV, whether it be sporting events or regular network television. I have a deep burden for our culture and the fact that if we as Christians don’t make changes first in our own lives, then we won’t live in such a way that others see us as different. We can write our congressional representatives all day long, we can picket certain stores, and write letters to certain companies to stop certain “non-Christian” practices, but unless we begin to make changes in our personal lives (what we see, how we speak, what we talk about, how we dress—true modesty) our children will never internalize our beliefs and make them theirs. Unless those changes are based squarely on our relationship with God and on the principles of responsible Christian behavior that He has given us and not a list of do’s and don’ts, our children will never understand the joy of serving the Lord in freedom from the shackles of sin and addiction. Unless our children and the world see that we are truly happy, joyful, and peaceful in our relationship with God, they will say to themselves, “Why bother? They’re Christians, and they’re miserable!” And they would rather choose the world and take what they perceive to be happiness and fun, than choose God and “be miserable.” All they will see is the fact that our behaviors don’t match our beliefs, and then they will conclude that Christianity, in effect, doesn’t really work! Remember, in all we say and do, we are witnesses: either for Christianity or for the alternative.

So what did I learn? I learned that I have to be able to give my daughter—and the world—something deeper than “because Daddy says so” or “because I’m a Christian, that’s just not what I do” as a reason not to look at something, not to wear something, not to act a certain way, etc. One good principle that I’ve found to be useful is 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).*

Is it easy to stand up for what you know is the right thing to do? No! Many times it’s extremely difficult. There will most likely be hurt feelings, and you may not be able to hang out with the friends you have known for a while, but the bottom line is this: I’m most worried about pleasing God rather than anybody else. And in the end, when I stand before God, I want Him to be happy and proud of me, not ashamed. I want Him to be able to say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” As Matthew 25:34 says: “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created’” (CEV).

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

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

*Scripture 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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