So you’re at a yard sale. A good one. You know the kind: nice neighborhood, items are displayed well and all the clothes are hanging according to size and still smell like Downy. Cute little girls are selling lemonade under a shade tree.
You see a large box of books that are marked 25 cents each and you make a beeline to investigate. Just one look at the covers on top and you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Classics and wholesome hardback titles; many of the ones on your list to purchase off Amazon.
That’s when you see her. Another homeschool mom Yard Sale Terminator. She’s wearing her denim jumper and has 89 well-behaved kids trailing behind her. Your pace quickens as you hurriedly pick out books, but it’s too late. She sees the box of books and she’s headed your direction. Quickly you pick up the whole box and ask the lady-in-charge how much she’ll take for the whole box. $5? Done! (You try not to make eye contact with the denim jumper.)
On your way home you realize that in your haste you never looked beyond the top layer of those books. Ah well, you saw enough. Surely they were all just as lovely and virtuous as the ones on top, right?
The kids bring in the box of “new” books and they are forgotten for the time being, as you begin to make dinner.
[box size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:15[/box]
It’s spring cleaning time, and as happens periodically around our home, we have to evict some little foxes that have found a refuge here. I am guilty of letting my guard down about books, movies and other items that we acquire, that are not honoring to the Lord. Watching what comes into our home, and therefore what effects the hearts and minds of my children, is a way that I am looking well to the way of my household.
Like many of you, we shop a lot at yard sales and thrift stores where we sometimes end up bringing questionable items home because they were a great deal. Also, friends and neighbors may generously gift us with hand-me-down clothes, toys, books, movies….the list goes on. We appreciate it very much. Trouble is, occasionally they are evicting their own foxes, and then we inherit the little creeps.
Therefore, from time to time the childrn and I grab a trash bag and go on a fox hunt. We must remember that no matter how entertaining or fun an item is, if we couldn’t invite the Lord Jesus to sit and watch/read/play it with us, then it needs to be trashed. Even if it was an unbelievable bargain!
Where the Foxes Lurk
Just this evening my seven year old daughter brought me a book that she said was “bad and we need to throw it away”. Curious, I checked the cover and sure enough, it was a book that had recently been brought in with several other used books. (I try to pre-read, or at least skim everything, but with voracious readers, it’s hard to keep up.) It looked to be a “harmless” children’s book. But within the pages, the children repeatedly complained and dishonored their parents by arguing and refusing to accept correction. They hopped on the school bus and sought out solace with their friends and then dishonored their parents further by gossipping about them to their classmates. The book ended with the children teaching the parents a lesson, and of course, the humiliated parents repented of their parental crime of exercising authority over their children.
This was a cute book. Illustrations were bright and fun. The children were fuzzy little bears for crying out loud. So why is it in my garbage can right now keeping company with the table scraps and dirty diapers?
Foxes and the Worldviews They Keep
The author of this book, like all authors, has a worldview. In the case of the above book, the author wasn’t subtle about it either. This book was anti-family and was teaching the reader that parental authority is a bad thing. But the Bible tells my daughter to obey. Not just when mom and dad are cheerful and happy, but always. This was just one of the many conflicts of worldviews in this little book.
Movies can be even worse. Between the music score that draws us in emotionally, to the clever phrases and punchlines, to the special effects, we can easily let our guard down and justify our entertainment choices. We must remember that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Though something may seem innocent or mild, these are just the avenues Satan can use to bridge the gap to worse and worse and worse things.
Test the Foxes
A good test of any “thing” or activity is to evaluate your children–their attitudes and actions, once the event or activity is over. If a certain type of activity, book, movie, friend they enjoy spending time with, builds within them a greater love for family, a greater respect and awe for the things of God, and a kind spirit towards others, then it is likely that it will build them up as a Christian. But if it causes a poor attitude, an attitude of disrespect towards parents, discontentment, or a desire for more of what the world offers, these are clear symptoms that continuing in this activity can damage their spiritual lives.
Teaching Children to Discern Any Foxiness
My daughter only went three pages into the above book before she brought it to me. This made me very grateful to the Lord. He was merciful in that even though I had not been as diligent as I should have been at protecting her, He convicted my little girl that something was amiss.
We have taught our children that Satan would like nothing better than to destroy them. He is a lion seeking to devour them, as young and early as possible. We have age-appropriate discussions with them, reminding them of their lack of wisdom at their tender ages and that they must keep their heart with all vigilance. We encourage them that nothing is too small an issue for them to come to us, their parents, for counsel.
When we see how quickly sin can overtake mature, godly adults, should it surprise us that children’s hearts can be pulled to the world by what they watch, read or play with? We must shelter our children from influences that can harm them spiritually, even if others think we’re overdoing it. Are you willing to make the needed investment, even if it means criticism from others?
Root out your little foxes, before they spoil the vine.