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Posts Tagged ‘innocence’

The Hunger Games opened in theaters on March 23.  Some Christian parents read the novel and plan to let their children see the movie, but others are asking a lot of questions.  If I get the opportunity, I plan to view the movie for myself.  For now, I’m reading various reviews.  Perhaps the following may be helpful to any parent wondering about this PG-13 movie.

Dr. Brenda Hunter, a psychologist and the co-author of From Santa to Sexting, warns that the movie is really about child sacrifice.  According to Hunter, the adults portrayed in the story are either impotent or voyeuristic and watch as children kill each other.  Parents, she says, should be concerned.

Dr. Hunter writes that kids are being “desensitized to violence” on a regular basis.  “There are over a thousand studies linking media violence to aggressive behavior in some children.”  And once desensitized, she says, the children are no longer afraid or revolted by what they see.  Hunter says “that begins to erode their God-given sense of humanity.”

“There’s a new philosophy that parents and adults seem to have in this culture,” Dr. Hunter explains.  “And it is: Let’s expose kids to everything.  Let’s expose them to sex.  Let’s expose them to violence — and they’ll be the better for it.”

Those of you who know me are well aware that I have grave concerns — have had for a long time — about the goal of getting children “comfortable with their sexuality.”  I’ve just finished writing Faithfulness: One Child at a Time (Q & A on Sex Education vs. Instruction in Purity for Christian Dialogue).  It reveals the roots of what Dr. Hunter is talking about: “Let’s expose kids to everything.”  This concept is not Biblical, but secular.  The concept of “exposing kids to everything” opposes God’s mandate to protect the innocence of children and mentor them away from evil and the darker side of this world.  Sex educators have this theory that if they give kids all knowledge… all information, then they’ll be o.k.  But, an adolescent brain is not like an adult brain.  Adult brains use the PFC (pre-frontal cortex) to think, rationalize, or apply brakes to emotional responses.  The PFC is not fully developed in an adolescent.  In fact, it may not be fully functioning until the mid-twenties.  Is it any wonder that God wants parents to set boundaries for their sons and daughters?  The emotional systems, hormones, and “gut reactions” of an adolescent may be fully functioning, but without the ability to reason or use good judgment, this age-group is extremely vulnerable.

An interview with Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trilogy, is instructive.  When asked why she thinks people are enticed by TV reality shows, she replied, “Well, they’re often set up as games and, like sporting events, there’s an interest in seeing who wins . . . sometimes they have very talented people performing.  Then there’s the voyeuristic thrill — watching people being humiliated, or brought to tears, or suffering physically — which I find very disturbing.  There’s also the potential for desensitizing the audience, so that when they see real tragedy playing out on, say, the news, it doesn’t have the impact it should.”

WORLD magazine responds to this statement: “This is a very poignant criticism of our culture, and one that deserves to be taken seriously. But for all the beauty and moral high ground [The Hunger Games] contains, it’s just as true that the world Collins has created is terribly evil.  Teenagers are dispatched throughout the movie by knives, swords, and mutated dogs; adults are either too powerless or corrupt to help; and [heroine] Katniss herself experiences an inward despair that will (in coming installments) lead her to attempt suicide . . . The Hunger Games  may produce the same deadening effect on the conscience that Collins seeks to warn us against.”  (This review to appear in the April 7, 2012, issue of WORLD.)

No wonder Dr. Hunter says that parents need to learn to say no.  Her recommendation: “Don’t let children go see The Hunger Games.”  (OneNewsNow.com 3-23-12)

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“I would never have an abortion myself, but I support the right of others to do so.”

“Abortion is wrong, depending upon the circumstances.”

“Sometimes we’re forced to choose the lesser of two evils.”

Why is abortion defended as a “woman’s right” even among people of faith?  How does a mother, father, or grandparent rationalize abortion?  What has to happen to make people who acknowledge the Creator of life set themself in His place and take a life?

The ministry of Titus 2 for Life began after years of asking these questions.  In order to make abortion “unthinkable,” we must honestly examine what happens prior to an abortion, including a “me first” mentality, promiscuity, loss of true identity, and failure to trust God.  But is there, as one Titus 2 participant asked, a missing piece to the puzzle of abortion?  Is there something so terrible that, in moments of fear and hopelessness, even Christian women and their families feel compelled to play the role of God?

An e-mail conversation following a Titus 2 Retreat began to reveal that missing piece.  A participant wrote: “Without breaking confidences, a group of us shared the painful circumstances of abortion as related to us by friends, family, congregation, and community members we have cared about and listened to over the years.  A common thread seemed to run through these accounts.  Young women who had been victims of childhood sexual abuse became promiscuous or experienced further sexual abuse from men during their teen years.  When they found themselves pregnant, they chose an abortion.”

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is, without a doubt, a missing piece in the abortion puzzle.

“I don’t even remember when it began.  My older step-brother would slip into my room at night and crawl into bed with me . . .”

“When I was twelve, my ‘uncle’ began touching me . . . later, when boys wanted to do the same, I honestly didn’t know how to say ‘no.’”

“Between the ages of 10 and 14, I was sexually abused by my step-dad.  My mom knew but was too afraid to say anything . . .”

“The principal of my Christian school said I was special and what he was doing to me was our secret . . .”

The stories break our hearts.  One study done in 1997 found that “compared to women who were not abused during childhood, women who reported a history of childhood sexual abuse were 1.5 more likely to have had an abortion.”  (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9315271)

This statistic (and more) was researched by a Titus 2 participant whose heart was touched by the stories she heard following a retreat.  She has been motivated to speak so that a culture can begin to prevent more harm, death, and hopelessness.

Titus 2 women gather to contrast the world with The Word.  Abortion is a worldly idea, but God calls it a sin.  What has to happen before the sin of abortion?  Other sin.

Sin happens when we rebel against or fail to trust God.  Sin happens when we let our sinful human flesh come under Satan’s authority.  Sin happens when God’s people are silent about sinful behavior.  Sinful humans caught up in sinful behavior affect the lives of others.

CSA is an example of sin’s generational effect on all of us. The consequences of one sin can affect generations to follow.  God says: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous god, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me . . . (Exodus 20:5 NIV).

In pausing to take a breath, I sense what some of you are thinking.  Why is God so unjust to compel innocent children to bear the sins of guilty parents?  Ahhh . . . and so it might seem to those who stop with verse five.  Please!  Don’t stop!  Read the rest of what God has to say.  He continues with a powerful, life-changing “but” that is followed by words of hope: I . . . am a jealous God, punishing . . . to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me . . . but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments (v. 6).

Do you hear what the Lord of life is saying?  He is “a jealous God” because He created male and female.  The first man and woman’s sin tainted all of their children and children’s children.  Sin produces consequences.  But, praise God!  There is Hope!  There is always Hope for those who love and trust God!  This Hope died for our sin ad rose to victory.  Hope is Jesus Christ who covers the repentant sinner with mercy every morning.

It is never a child’s fault when he or she is abused.  A child has not sinned when they are forced to do something against their will.  The adult who puts a child in harm’s way or strips away innocence is always held accountable.  So, what does the person who experienced childhood sexual abuse do?  He or she finds hope and healing in God’s promises: Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame . . . The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them . . . The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:5, 7, 18 NIV).

What does the adult who sinned against God and one of His little ones do?  He or she finds hope and healing in God’s promises: When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and You forgave the guilt of my sin.  (King David in Psalm 32)

What do Titus 2 women (and men) do?  They speak up.  They expose the darkness of evil with the light of God’s Word.  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this  present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing ofour great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:11-14).

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An editor asked to reprint one of my blogs in a national publication.  The article, “Child Abuse” (7-29-11), suggested that we ought to examine the source of sex education.  It prompted notes of appreciation… but also a call of anger to the publisher from a person of authority in the church.  He felt as if he’d been “attacked.”  “Labeled.”  Why?

Some think the Old Testament is, well, “old.” But, I’ll tell you what.  At times like this, I find lessons taught by historic events refreshingly helpful and hopeful.  At this moment, with division caused among God’s people over sex education versus instruction in purity, I turn to Ezra 4:1-6.

The people of Israel had just been set free from captivity in Persia (formerly Babylon) so that they might return to Jerusalem.  Few Israelites, however, wanted to return to their homeland.  A great many had adapted to their new surroundings.  They had property and liked their new lifestyle.  Going back (as in “backward”?) was not appealing.  Very few packed their bags and returned to rebuild a crumbled and decaying Jerusalem.  Reality hit hard.  The job of rebuilding the temple to the Lord was going to be difficult.  How tempting it probably was to accept the help offered by unbelieving neighbors in the land.  Were the neighbors being kind, or did they have an agenda of their own?  Whatever the case, fathers of the Israelite houses said, “No.”  To maintain pure worship, the Israelites rejected the offer of help from the people of the land who lived a life of blended and false religious beliefs.  To accept would have placed households at risk of being deceived away from Jehovah God.  To accept help from nonbelievers — to use their tools or building materials — could not be tolerated.  The task before the few and faithful Israelites was daunting, in fact, reminiscent of Noah building the Lord’s ark in the midst of his more “progressive” neighbors.  But, then — as today — clear boundaries in doctrine and practice are necessary because a corrupt gospel is no Gospel at all (Galatians 1:8).

The Christian finds him or herself facing a similar challenge today.  God’s Word tells His people to instruct sons and daughters in purity.  But, the people in the land where we Christians live practice the impurity of blended religions.  These neighbors offer their assistance — tools and building materials (with an agenda of their own?) — to us .   But, what will happen if we Christians accept that offer of help?  Will there be compromise?  Clear boundaries in doctrine and practice are necessary because a corrupt teaching of purity is no teaching of purity at all.

Here is my prayer.  May the eyes of Christian parents, pastors, teachers or students be open to the deception of blended religious beliefs.  May we refuse the assistance of people in the land who have turned from the Creator of life, marriage and family to follow false gods.  May we, with humility, examine our building materials and if found impure, disgard them as trash.  If we have been influenced by the “father of modern sex education,” Alfred Kinsey, may we turn from the lie.  Yes, Kinsey attended a church.   But, he practiced the religion of Darwin.  He built on his own theory that “children are sexual from birth.”  He coined the term “sexuality” and worshiped in its temple.   False gods always demand sacrifice.  Today, Planned Parenthood, SIECUS, and GLSEN build on the religion of my personal “sexuality.”  The sacrifice is the innocence of children; the very lives of children through abortion.

If we have put our trust in ways of the world rather than in the purity of God’s Word, may we let go of pride and hurry to the Cross.  If we have innocently accepted help from unbelieving people of the land, may we repent and be drenched in Christ’s mercy.  The pure Gospel is this: Jesus is our Robe of Righteousness.  Even if we have been deceived and unintentionally brought harm to others, we have hope.  In our Savior Jesus Christ, there is always hope.

Only one voice hisses: There is no hope.  But, that lie of Satan has no authority over us.  Because of what Jesus has done for us — in spite of us, we have dominion over the father of lies.  Of false religions.  Of hopelessness.

Dear Lord,

You are the Builder of all that is good, right and true.  Give us courage to examine the source of our tools and, when we’ve trusted our judgment rather than Yours, accept our humble confession.  Forgive us.  Lead us away from the temptation to wrap Jesus around false teaching…  false hope.  Equip us to set the gate of innocence back in place and guard the household of faith.  AMEN.

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