Earlier this week, I watched as my daughter and one of her friends sat down at the kitchen table. They were leaning in close and talking. The friend said let me tell you about my dream last night. Erin asked her to wait, and ran to her room to get her picture Bible. The friend shared her dream, and Erin opened up to the story of Joseph in her picture Bible. They giggled and chatted for about 10 minutes, and then moved on to the next game.
As I watched this exchange I was struck by two things. First, Erin knew where to find a story about dreams in her Bible. Praise! Second, and possibly more important, Erin was modeling something that she had seen me do. Just a few days prior to this, I had a friend over. We sat at the table to visit. As we were talking, I got my Bible to share a verse that pertained to what we were speaking about. That was a good thing to model. Unfortunately, I don't always model good things for my children to see.
Copying what we see does not just happen with children. It happens with all of us. We tend to mimic what we see and what we hear. I know that I still occasionally use phrases from movies and TV shows that I watched years ago. When I am around someone a lot, I tend to say things the way they say them, or do things they way they do them. This is why it is very important to guard what you see, and to be aware of what we watch.
If we see something often enough, we become immune to the offensiveness of it. I remember hearing a man on the radio tell a story about taking his daughter to shop for a dress. While he was waiting on her to come out of the dressing room, another girl came out in a dress that was very inappropriate. So, when his daughter came out, she looked good in comparison. It was not until they got home, and the son asked him why he allowed her to buy such a dress that he realized that he had based his decision on what the other girl was wearing.
As God's people, we are called to be set aside. We should not do things as the world does them. In order to accomplish this, we must guard our hearts, our eyes, and our ears. We must be careful what we allow in, and we must be cautious of our actions. Just as we model other's behaviors, there is always someone watching and modeling ours.
Proverbs 4:23-27 (The Message)
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.