Dr. Sam Smith, Guest columnist
Jacksonville Daily Progress
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”
I saw a blouse today that reminded me of a dress one of the characters wore in the movie “Beach Blanket Bingo”. It took me back to the days of my yesteryears. If you are from the era of the Beach Party movies, you will understand this. Remember how people were shocked by the raciness of those movies. All those girls in bikinis dancing around on the big screen – how awful! Compared to the movies and television shows we see today, Beach Blanket Bingo was a Sunday School party.
So, I allowed my mind to wander further back in time; back to the simpler days of Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith, The Real McCoys, Dick Van Dyke; wholesome programs with lessons of family values and morals. The married couples would not even sleep in the same bed. Never an obscene word or gesture, nor suggestive behavior. I still love to watch those shows today when I can find them. I guess the Andy Griffith is my favorite, especially the ones with Barney. Wow, I miss those days.
And the Westerns: Gun Smoke, Cheyenne, Wagon Train, The Rebel, The Lawman, Rawhide, just to name a few. The good guys always won, justice was done.
What happened? What changed? We have dropped our guard, lowered our standards and accepted what Hollywood gives us. Why? I am among the guilty, I confess. Some of my favorite shows today are loaded with violence, obscene behavior and bad language. The detectives find a mutilated body and perform graphic autopsies. I enjoy the forensics, but the show is loaded with bad stuff. Do we just tune it out? In doing so, what does it do to our relationship with the Lord? How does He feel about it?
Compromise, that’s what we do. We tell ourselves that the Lord will understand, and He won’t hold it against us, or we just fail to consider His feelings altogether. But God has told us to guard our hearts above all else. (Proverbs 4:23) The things that we allow into our thoughts can have very negative consequences. You may have heard this formula regarding the things we see and hear: good in - good out, bad in - bad out. The more negative, unrighteous, impure material we feed our minds and hearts, the more likely they are to adversely influence our behavior. Just as the wrong foods effect our health, wrong sights and sounds and thoughts effect our behavior.
Scriptures teach us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8).
When we baby-boomers compare the media influence on our generation to the things young people see and hear today, we have to wonder how they are able to process it all. When Matt Dillon shot an outlaw, he grabbed his chest and fell. When someone on T.V. gets shot today, his chest explodes or his head blows up and blood splatters all over the room. When Clark Gable said “Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a d---” everyone gasped and held their baby’s ears. Think of the language today. And the sex, well there just isn’t any way to compare then and now. Where does it end? It causes me to feel a bit more compassionate and understanding of today’s youth. It is a wonder they do as well as they do.
One thing is for certain, it isn’t Ozzie and Harriet anymore.
Dr. Sam Smith,