In the computer world there is a saying, "Garbage in, garbage out," which describes why computer mistakes are made. One cannot get the right answer to a problem if one has put the wrong data in the machine. The computer merely takes the figures that the operator supplies to make its calculations.
We are much more than computers, but the same thing holds true for human beings. If we fill our minds with garbage, that is what we should expect will come out of them as well. We are creatures of habit, and it becomes easy to think about the things that we think about often. More to the point, we tend to do the kinds of things that we habitually think about.
Jesus said, "What comes out the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander" (Matt. 15:18-19). If we fill our hearts with thoughts about things such as these, we will find that these are the kinds of things we will do. Soon we will be like the Israelites, whom Jeremiah bemoaned "did not know how to blush" (Jer. 6:15; 8:12).
We live in a world today that is filled with a danger to Christians never before known in the history of mankind: the influence on the human mind wielded by the video media. The movies and increasingly the television are filled with scenes of violence, profanity, and sex that have a marked effect on the way that we think. To see such things repeatedly has the result of programming our minds to think about these things continually and dulls our conscience as to right and wrong.
A person may say, "I know that these things are wrong, and I would never do them myself; they are just entertaining to watch." The problem is that they invade our very thought processes. When we hear the obscene and profane language that fill the movies and television, we find those words coming easily to our minds and then to our mouths. When we watch beatings and murders, we find our own thoughts becoming more violent and our tempers more difficult to hold. Even the evening news can have this kind of effect. When we watch nudity and love scenes, we lose our sense that sex must be reserved for marriage; we find it harder not to think about sex and easier to be caught up in an affair of adultery or fornication that we never would have thought that we would.
One cannot carry fire in the bosom and not be burnt (Prov. 6:27). The Christian must avoid NC-17, R, and even many PG-13 movies that tend to program our minds to think that sin is OK. We must avoid the TV shows with adult situations and those situation comedies that make us laugh about sin.
Instead, we must fill our minds with God's word. The psalmist said, "I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." And the apostle Paul wrote, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philp. 4:8). Let us fill our minds and hearts with good, not with garbage.
Copyright © 1993, Bruce Terry. All rights reserved. This article may be freely reprinted in bulletins and newsletters so long as no charge is made to the reader and this copyright notice is included.