Dealing with Music in
By Eric Barger
For years now parents, teens and children have attended our "Take a Stand!" seminar/crusades across North America asking the same questions. Over and over I have looked into the eyes of a distraught parent at wits end over the controversy of music in the Christian home. My purpose here is to give you some practical answers which can be applied to help bring balance and Biblical sanity back to your home.
First - Pray
To many it may be viewed as a mere placebo but prayer is the most crucial, vital and powerful tool which any Christian can utilize. The hand of God moves when we pray. It shouldn't be the last thing we do when all of our human efforts have failed. Instead, it must be our starting point and the thing by which all human actions are directed from. God's Word promises in Isaiah 43:19 that he will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. That's the God we serve. Nothing is impossible with Him. He didn't forget me through years of drugs, alcohol, adultery and New Age beliefs. It was the prayers of a loving Grandmother and wife that changed me. God hasn't forgotten you, your children, your grandchildren and your situation. Whether your dilemma is about music, money, health or relationships, the hand of God is moved by the Christian who petitions Him constantly. It is regular, fervent, positive, Scriptural prayers which bring results. We must posture ourselves in a position to do spiritual warfare - not in a mind-set of defeated "woe-fare." Many of us resort to God only in times of distress or need. However, I believe that we need to pray for our children even if they are doing just fine. We must war for the minds, bodies and spirits of those who have been or may be affected adversely by today entertainment. A great time to start praying for your kids is before they are born. If you are interested in seeing real progress made in the lives of others you must decide to get serious about prayer.
Second - Get Knowledge and Understanding
We will never win the war over music with our children by marching into their rooms and declaring to them that "rock music is of the Devil." Though technically much of today's music may satanically inspired, that in itself is a surface cliché that will evoke feelings that you are attacking or invading their domain. Generalizing, or acting out of feelings or personal taste can defeat our purpose. Our goal should be to bring our kids closer to Jesus and His principles - not simply to rid our homes of music which we do not like or understand. If we don't have concrete facts to back up our inklings will may well close the door permanently to all dialog about music. Before diving in, know about what you speak. To condemn without facts, documentation and knowledge is futile. There are many fine resources available to help you get a grip on the modern music and entertainment scene. Though my book From Rock To Rock (1990, Huntington House) is out of print I would suggest that finding a copy in one of the many online used bookstores would help give you some understanding of what you are dealing with. From Rock To Rock detailed 1650 rock, rap and pop groups and artists who were popular in in that era. Whatever you do, get armed with information before trying to converse with your children about their entertainment.
Third - Take a Survey of Their Music
I know someone reading this is thinking, "God forbid Eric. Do you mean that I should actually go into their rooms and listen to their music?" That is exactly what I am saying. I don't mean for you to invade their privacy but you should ask them questions such as "Who is this group? What do these lyrics mean to you? Who is this in the poster on your wall?" You may not be able to understand the lyrics but I guarantee your kids do. By asking to see and hear their tapes and compact disks not only will you get a scope of the intensity of the music problem in their lives but you will send the message to them that you care about who they care about - their heroes, the musicians.
Forth - Ask Questions that Identify the Music's Impact Beyond Entertainment
Here are just a few to get you started.
- If your children have received Christ ask them what they are feeding His temple, their bodies (I Corinthians 3:16, II Corinthians 6:16).
- "Do the groups and singers you listen to glorify God?"
- "Can you readily tell if Jesus is the Lord over the lives of the musicians?"
- "Are your favorite musicians building or destroying the Kingdom of God?" (It's one or the other.)
- "Are they serving themselves or the living God?"
- "Would the Lord listen to this?"
Fifth - Take Compassion
You are dealing with an extremely influential even addictive area in many lives. Love them through the maze of today's entertainment as the Holy Spirit directs you.
Sixth - Provide a Biblically Based Christian Music Alternative
Space limitations do not allow me to help you with guidelines for choosing what Christian music may be appropriate for your children or teens. But there is some great music being produced today that will speak the message of faith and truth to our kids. Keep in mind that we all need music.
Seventh - Outline Biblical Concepts
A few Scriptures that can be related to what we accept mentally, spiritually and physically into our homes are: Colossians 2:8, Ephesians 5:1-7, Deuteronomy 7:25-26, Acts 19:18-20, Isaiah 33:14-17 (Amplified Bible), Philippians 4:8, II Corinthians 6:14-7:1
Our goal should be to teach the children and teens to make good Biblically based decisions. We can only do so much. We can only be with them for a limited time each day. If it be their will to get the wrong music and entertainment they'll get it somewhere unless their hearts and wills are turned toward Heaven. It is our basic responsibility as parents to point them in the right direction (Proverbs 22:6).
If, after following these seven steps which may take days or weeks to complete, there is still no progress concerning unbiblical music in your home, it is time for further action. Many parents are afraid to do what I am about to tell you but we run the risk of being an "Eli" if we do not. (Read I Samuel chapter 2 to find out what happened when a father refused to discipline his son's for sinful activity.)
There may come a time where a parent simply must physically act against a child or teen's will to carry out Joshua 24 verse 15 - "As for me and my house we are going to serve the Lord." If after you have lovingly and Biblically talked and prayed there is still no change, I advise you to actually remove any materials that are unscriptural in content. We must hold to God's standards and return to holiness in our homes, sacrificing even the cost of short term household peace to do so. The long range price is too great to pay! God does not honor sin, rebellion, occultism, violence, substance abuse and other themes prevalent in today's rock, rap, pop, and yes parents, even country music. Our families and us have no excuse before God based on what everybody else is doing or listening to. If we want to see our family's musical choices change our first step should be to examine our own listening habits.
God is speaking to us about cleaning up our lives, homes and churches. His standard remains constant regardless of the immoral condition of our society. Ephesians 5 instructs us that we are to have no "hint" of sexual immorality around us. Our concern must be to seek and please God through obedience. Don't let anything destroy your "sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (II Corinthians 11:3).
II Peter 2:19 warns us that if something or someone takes us captive by such influence we are brought into bondage. If are homes are to be a refuge of God's peace and love it may take a time of struggle and unrest to bring about order and restore joy and real happiness.
No one said it would be easy to live the Christian life. It takes effort, but it is well worth it! As Paul encouraged the Ephesians not join in partnership with evil men I leave you with the same advise. In loving strength we must teach our children the difference between what is right and what is wrong, (Ezekiel 44:23) helping them to distinguish the will of God. We must focus their eyes on The Rock.
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