Discernment, TV, and the Fear of the Lord


In our Wednesday children’s class, my wife is teaching the boys and girls the Ten Commandments.  In addition to memorizing the commandment and a complementary Scripture verse, she helps them discerningly apply the commandment to their life.

Last week, they learned the third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.”  Among other things, Lynn taught them that they should be discerning about what they watch on T.V.  In order to demonstrate how prevalent this has become, she gave them an assignment to keep a record of how many times they heard the phrase “Oh, my God (or gosh)!” in their favorite programs.

In class last evening, several had followed through.  One 9 year-old in particular had kept up carefully.  In one day of watching, (about 3 1/2 hours) she heard the Lord’s name used vainly well over 100 times. In one 30 minute program, she recorded over thirty infractions. None of this was from prime-time programming. It was all from afternoon programs aimed at elementary aged children.

I’m not advocating a TV boycott, nor am I suggesting that there is an “entertainment conspiracy” to teach children to break the third commandment. I do believe that our entertainment both reflects AND affects our culture.  I do believe that this reflects the general lack of honor for God in our society. I also believe we must teach our children to have and use spiritual discernment in every area of their life.  Most of all we must teach them to have a proper respect and reverence for God.


14 thoughts on “Discernment, TV, and the Fear of the Lord

  1. Tony Sisk says:

    I hate being so restrictive in what my kids watch, but what other choice do I have? There is this one little show that comes on Nick Jr., or at least used to, I haven’t kept up, about a talking octopus named Oswald (also the name of the show) and his pet Dachshund named Weinie. Creative, huh?

    Oswald frequently used the phrase, “Oh my gosh!” It sounded much worse coming out of my four year old’s mouth, so I no longer let them watch it, even though otherwise, the show is harmless!

    Our speech represents so much of who we are and I just did not want those expressions coming from my kids’ mouths. So, the only solution is–hit the off button and throw ’em out in the yard. Its better for them anyway.

  2. Tim A. Blankenship says:

    I wonder how many adults know the Ten Commandments and in order. Even more, how many believe they are still in need of being practiced through Jesus Christ. Jesus is, afterall the fulfillment of them.
    It is a great thing your wife is doing in teaching them to the children.
    God bless you.

  3. titus2woman says:

    Yes, we have certainly grown in a lack of reverence! I see it too in the difference in the music~bring back the hymns and get rid of the “Jesus is my boyfriend”-type worship junk. (((((HUGS)))))) sandi

  4. nephos says:

    Tony, I’m know a lot of kids who could use your kind of parenting.

    T.A., I preached on the Ten Commandments a couple of years ago. It was sad the people who didn’t know them. Even more sad is the ones who still don’t!

    DK, Since the ARE kids, we don’t get into the doctrinal aspect of why we worship on Sunday. (They’ll get that later). Anway, I assume you’re referring to the practical teaching of the Lord’s Day.

    We teach them that the day is to be a day of worship (and that it is modelled in Scripture as corporate worship)and rest and should be different from the others. We focus more on principles than precepts so they can learn to discern for themselves how best to honor God on His Day. In other words, we don’t try to give them a laundry list of do’s and don’ts. If their priorities are honoring God with worship and rest, their actions will take care of themselves.

    Thanks for your visit and comment. As with so many areas of the Christian life, I believe balance is the key. What some consider reverence is nothing more than dead formalism. What others consider being “real” is nothing more than self-centered emotionalism. Somewhere between genuine heartfelt worship that honors our great God.

  5. Danny Kaye says:

    Thanks for answering.

    I was more curious about if you teach them that the Sabbath is the 7th day of the week, or if Sunday is our new Lord’s Day.

    I have no problem either way. I was just trying to get a feel for what others teach.

  6. nephos says:


    That’s what I get for assuming! 😉

    We do worship on Sunday. When we’re teaching little children, we just teach Sunday. Older children we teach that though in the OT the Sabbath was Saturday, for the NT it is Sunday (and leave it at that). Then when they get a little older, we can give a fuller doctrinal explanation of why we believe in a change.

  7. Danny Kaye says:

    “That’s what I get for assuming!”

    No. That’s what I get for clumsily asking a question in such a way that you would have no idea what I was actually asking.

    I like your appoach to this. It makes good sense. I think I’ll use it. (You don’t have a copywrite on it do you?)


  8. Debbie says:

    The fourth Commandment says “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; where fore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

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