Daily Devotional for Saturday July 21, 2007
One of the things I try to do each day, one of my main goals of this Devotional, is to help you translate your Christian faith into your very real daily life. For those who have been reading these Devotionals for a while, you also know that I hold the Bible to be God's inspired, inerrant Word, and THE Absolute Truth and our final authority over all matters in our life. There is no room for compromise. One of the biggest things that has hit our popular culture in the last couple of years that is an issue for anyone with children, are the Harry Potter books and movies.
Harry Potter has received much international attention due to the fact it has become very popular with children, and the books have actually helped many kids learn to enjoy reading or read at a higher level. These books and movies have also come under incredible attacks from the Christian community due to the witchcraft, sorcery, magic, and other occult/mystical/New Age aspects to the storyline.
***Please do not miss this. My goal today is NOT to bash the Harry Potter books and movies, but to encourage parents to take an even greater role in monitoring what your children read, hear, and watch. Even more important, to take the TIME to put what is in our popular culture like Harry Potter and all else that is out there, and put it into a Biblical context for your children.
PARENTS: YOU CANNOT CONTROL ALL THAT YOUR CHILDREN WILL SEE AND HEAR. YOUR CHILDREN ARE NOW, AND AS EACH DAY GOES BY, MAKING EVEN MORE DECISIONS FOR THEMSELVES. THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB THAT YOU HAVE IS TO LAY A BIBLICAL FOUNDATION IN THEIR LIVES FOR THEM TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS!!!
I am not going to debate the content of these books or movies, because it clearly has witchcraft and sorcery as a big part of the storyline. The elements of Harry Potter that are dangerous have been with us in so many other forms for many, many years since Biblical times. Yet, when has anyone really spoken out so boldly about witchcraft, about sorcery? These are the Biblical issues that make Harry Potter dangerous. When I was growing up, my favorite movie and one of the most popular in movie history, was the Wizard of Oz. Witches good and bad, a wizard, magical spells were all part of this classic story. STORY.
My parents who were both wonderful Christians, would explain to me in my younger years the fantasy aspects of Oz. They also provided a daily environment of prayer and time in the Word, with the church being a large part of our family life. Because of that, I clearly understood the Wizard of Oz was a fictional story, and not real!!! I have spoken recently with some older saints who were alive when the Wizard of Oz first came out. They tell me that this movie, which is now considered one of the most loved of all times, received the exact same criticism from the Christian community of that day as Harry Potter is getting today.
The real bottom line to this Devotional today is for you parents who have children, to play an active role in their lives. God gave each of us free will, that means your kids too. But while they are growing up, until they leave home, God has given you the responsibility of building a spiritual foundation in their life. It is without a doubt the most important job or ministry you have. In that capacity, you should know and be aware of what they watch on TV and on the Internet. You should know and be aware of the books they read. There should be open and honest discussion about the content of what they are watching and hearing on a daily basis so that you can help them understand this world we live in. More importantly, help them to put the things they are taking in each day in a Biblical perspective.
This daily interaction with your children will give them the spiritual foundation from which they will build their life on, FROM WHICH THEY WILL MAKE THEIR DECISIONS!!!
Please do not think this Devotional is an endorsement of the Harry Potter books and movies. Personally, I think the Left Behind series is much better and much more profitable because of its content. I will not, however, tell you that your child will be irreversibly harmed by reading these books or seeing these movies. It all boils down to your involvement in their life!!! You need to know what they are reading and what they are watching, so that you are able to give them perspective. You can't shield them from the things in this world that are not pleasant. They are living in a sin-filled world where they are going to be exposed daily to the effects of sin on our world. Your intimate involvement in their lives, especially in those 0-18 years when they are developing into what they will be as adults is critical. Rather than trying to control their environment, which is ultimately impossible, help them to understand it so that when they start making their own decisions they will have a Biblical basis for those decisions.
I love you and care about you so much. Is Harry Potter a legitimate issue? Yes, due to the popularity of the books and movies. Is Harry Potter the anti-Christ. NO! Will reading Harry Potter or watching the movies destroy your children's lives? Most likely no. Again, what I want you to take from this is that as parents, you MUST get involved in your children's lives. You have every right and responsibility to censor what you allow in your home but censor it with an explanation of why so that hopefully as they get older, they can make that same quality decision for themselves. In time, Harry Potter will be off the radar screen and, trust me, there will be another "hot issue" to get all excited about. The fact is, as parents, we need to be constantly diligent about what our children are being exposed to and put it into a Biblical context for them.
Never forget, that in a very short time you won't be around to make those decisions for them and the foundation that you lay in their life now is what will carry them the rest of their life. I pray today, that you will take the time and put in the effort to lay a strong, Biblically based foundation from which they will be able to operate from for the rest of their journey through this life. Again, I do not want the main point of this Devotional to be lost. Anyone who reads the Word of God knows that God condemns witchcraft and sorcery. It is a sin, period. My larger concern is NOT over the obvious sin that is promoted through Potter, but over the role parents play in the shaping of their children's lives. Not just in being responsible and censoring material that could be harmful to them, but in helping them develop a foundation from which to make those same Biblically-based decisions for themselves when you are NOT around.
I know everyone loves their kids so much. I spend much of my prayer time each day praying over your children as you send in prayer requests for different situations. Open your heart and hear what the Lord is saying to YOU today through this Devotional and know that there is no book, no movie, no Internet site, nothing this world can produce that has more power than the God of this universe. Help them to understand that while Harry Potter is a fantasy movie like the Wizard of Oz is, God is very real, with very real powers, and He is the only one who deserves our praise and worship. I know some will be disappointed I didn't take this time to blast Harry Potter the way many Christian leaders are today. I think it is FAR MORE PRODUCTIVE to use this issue to encourage and empower parents!
Never forget that your greatest ministry no matter what else the Lord may have you doing for the Kingdom, is TO YOUR CHILDREN. There is NO GREATER ministry that you will EVER be involved in. Anyone who is a parent, is in full time ministry to God as much as any pastor or anyone that you will ever see on TV or hear on the radio. As a minister of God, it is YOUR responsibility to help lay a Biblically-based foundation in the lives of those children God has entrusted into your care! That is the REAL MESSAGE of Harry Potter.