The longer I live, the more interested I am in speaking the truth in love. I have come to believe that it’s the closest thing I can do to imitate a God who both loves and disciplines us. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, loving someone means that you WILL speak the truth; you simply speak it without sarcasm or anger. And you trust that the hearer knows just how much you love them.
And so here we are. I’m ready to write about something that has bothered me for more than ten years. And I know it will be met with some heavy defense. I have to write it anyway because I believe it to be truth and sometimes I simply have to stand publicly for truth. Even when it isn’t popular.
It was ten years ago, maybe a little more, when I viewed my first episode of “The Bachelor.” TV reality series were all the rage and this was the latest and, according to ratings, the greatest.
Only it wasn’t. So I turned it off. Somewhere in the deep of me it felt wrong to leave it on in my home. It just didn’t go with our “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” wall plaque.
A few years passed and I saw a social media post announcing a “Bachelor Party” at the home of a friend that evening. The women were to come in pajamas, bring snacks and watch what is apparently “reality” together. A party.
Because I admired those hosting and attending the party I decided that the show must have gone through a cleansing of some sort. I knew those women did not live the life style portrayed on the show I had seen a few years earlier. So I decided to watch it again…to see what I was missing. I wasn’t missing anything. The show had not changed. If anything, it was worse. And I felt sick.
So what is the truth that I must speak in love with season 19 looming on the horizon?
1) Truth: Jesus would not attend “The Bachelor” party with me. That statement needs no explanation. It’s simply truth.
2) Truth: I dishonor my husband when I live vicariously through “The Bachelor.” I don’t know how I can expect Tim to be true to me in what he chooses to look at when I refuse to honor him in the same way. And this is where women get in trouble. We love romance and there is nothing wrong with that. We were made for emotional engagement. But we were never intended to be reckless in the fulfillment of that need. Living a fantasy through what we read and/or watch can really have the same effect on our marriage as when a husband chooses to view pornography. It simply brings us to a place of discontentment. And no one wins there.
I wonder what would happen in our homes if the time spent fantasizing with “The Bachelor” was instead invested in date nights with our spouse?
3) Truth: Watching “The Bachelor” tells my daughter that it’s okay with me if she chooses to “try out” her dates. What a travesty to spend so much time training her up in the way she should go only to completely contradict that teaching through careless entertainment choices. Everything I have known of women and girls who “try out” their dates behind the closed doors of a bedroom only leads to heartache and pain. I want so much more than that for her. True, she will make her own choices, but I don’t want what comes through the box in our home to contribute to her desensitizing. There are enough places she will fight that without adding our safe family room to the list.
4) Truth: Attending a bachelor party with my girlfriends, dressed in my jammies with a bowl of popcorn on my lap simply tells those friends that I have bought into the world’s definition of love. And that I find it entertaining. I haven’t and I don’t. I still believe there are young men and women who save themselves for their marriage partner…on purpose. And I believe they have great freedom from regret in the bedroom when they do marry.
And there you have it. The other side of my “Secrets in the Sanctuary and Even Behind the Sacred Desk” blog. The most disturbing part of this epidemic for me is that there is nothing secret about it. It lives in wide open places. Invitations are made on social media. Some of the parties are even church parties. And it doesn’t seem we even pause to consider what we are endorsing…nor does it matter that we have become completely desensitized.
And so, it is with lots of love that I quote (for you and for myself):
“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 (and watch) such things.” Philippians 4:8
THAT should be our standard.