I'm not talking about legal conviction. That's a big topic and not one I'm going to touch in today's post. Maybe not ever on this blog. (Never say never, huh?)
I'm talking about spiritual conviction.
Huh? What is that? Spiritual conviction?
According to Webster's Dictionary Online (Which is now called Merriam-Webster by the way) ...
whoa, whoa, whoa... eeeerrrrrccccchhhhhh! (That's the sound of my mental brakes)
I need to get serious here. This is a serious topic. Excuse me while I remove my Humor Hat and put on my Serious Hat. Hmmhmmmhmmm... (That's me humming while I look. It's been a while since I've worn the Serious Hat.) I'm beginning to wonder if it's even possible for me to blog/speak/breathe without being sarcastic, humorous, or just plain silly.
Let me try that again...
Spiritual Conviction --
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of conviction is as follows:
1. the act or process of convicting of a crime especially in a court of law
2a. the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth
b. the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth
3a. a strong persuasion or belief
b. the state of being convinced
As mentioned previously, we're not looking for a legal definition, nor are we trying to convince or compel someone.
Look at 2b: The state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth.
Also at 3a: A strong persuasion or belief.
Both of those speak to me about spiritual conviction.
Within the last year, I have been spiritually convicted about several areas in my life. Specifically with regard to TV shows and books. I feel I have been convinced of error and now I hold a strong persuasion or belief that I should not be watching those shows or reading those books.
I'm not gonna lie. I was reading smut. Trashy romance novels, thriller/suspense/bloody killer novels, and the occasional trashy romance/thriller/suspense/bloody killer novel. Entertaining, sure. But food for my soul? Not even a nibble.
As for TV shows? Pretty much the same as my reading. Sure, there was a lot of HGTV in there and some PBS, but mostly it was network drama. You know, the medical intern who can't pass his test but has slept with everyone on the planet is now dying and so we are all sad... Or, the cops who are all fighting for the "right" things even if that means lying, stealing, and forcing a false confession while sleeping with half the planet. Entertaining? Sure. Glorifying to God? No way.
So, some of you will stop reading here and think, "Well, I know what's on the show is morally or scripturally wrong, but IT'S A TV SHOW! It's not like I'm the one committing those sins!" Heh, heh, heh. I laugh not at you, but because I've been there. I'm not a mind reader. I just know that when I started feeling a bit unsettled when picking up a certain type of book, or when turning on a specific type of show, those are the thoughts I had. And honestly, I felt defensive.
And, really, I'd like for you to get defensive. To think about what I'm writing. If you're feeling something, Yay! Look at that feeling. (Or, as a shrink would say, "unpack that feeling." Thank you very much for lying on my couch, that will be $90 please.) Look at the feelings and decide why you're feeling that way. And then pray. And then tell me all about it!
My defenses rose and I had an internal argument with myself that I wasn't the one that was committing the sinful acts that were portrayed in the TV programs or books. I was only watching them. Reading about them. For entertainment. Really, what harm was in that?
But then, the Still, Small Voice spoke to me. Convicted me. Convinced me of my error and I began to admit the truth. I began to feel that my watching the shows and reading the books was giving an unspoken "okay" or acceptance to those topics that the Bible says are sin. The children's worship song, Be Careful Little Eyes What you See kept popping into my head. And I began to realize that what my eyes see will soon lead to my heart. As a line in Casting Crowns' song Slow Fade says, "The journey from your mind to your hands is shorter than you're thinking."
So, let me put it out there for you.
"Hello, my name is Greyhaired Momma and I abstain from watching any shows or reading any books that go against the teachings in scripture."
I believe it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in. I know I risk others' judgment or harsh words. Staying away from TV programs and books that promote ideas, lifestyles, and images that are not how Jesus would have me live my life is how I've been convicted. The courage of conviction is not easy, but it is worth it. Eternally worth it.
How are you being convicted?
"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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philipians 4:8-9 (NIV)