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TV the good and the bad
Television—sometimes, or have been, as I recall, referred to as the boob tube, idiot box, or one-eyed monster. Such expressions identify that all too familiar appliance in homes that all too often is not a stranger. Television (TV), with many families, has become quite familiar, maybe too familiar. First came sound, then light, then color; so goes the growth of TV. Now, also, it's digital (replacing the old analog), high definition, and flat screen. Add to that, today TV can even be viewed hand held, as we're on the go, via the "smartphone."
The growth of TV has captivated audiences nationwide and worldwide and has held them spellbound to its staring eye. It doesn't take any effort to snap on the switch, or to push the remote, and zowie; we're zapped, glued for hours to the tube.
When I was a kid, I watched hours of TV, enjoying every minute, too, in front of the set. Viewing them the second time around was enjoyable too. I knew almost every program that was on the air – their day, time, and channel. Perhaps I might have been as some might call, a "walking TV guide." However, I believe, and maybe truer than I'd like to think, that the majority of those hours I spent in front of the tube were wasted hours.
Nevertheless, realizing further, TV is a marvelous invention, and color and stereo surround sound even adds to the pleasure of viewing it. And cable makes television even more appealing with multiple channels from which to choose. "Multiple channels" – uh, now that could be a problem; something more to keep one connected to the tube, and glued for hours, paving the way of a sloth. A slothful life contradicts the teaching of the Bible and does not glorify God.
The problem is not so much with the set itself, however, but with the viewer—the one turning the knob or pushing the button on the box or remote control. Television's bright eye can almost hypnotize an undisciplined person. There is no activity in TV viewing; it's passive and can make a person lazy, and dull in his thinking.
Consider an alternative to TV...
For one, to get out of the rut of the same old drag of TV viewing each evening, replace the TV with a planned family activity. A game time can do wonders for reuniting the family, or time just to talk, or make plans for a family outing. The Christian family should seriously consider a time for family devotions to read the Bible and pray together or a family Bible study.
Then, instead of watching television the time can be spent reading a biography of a notable Christian or some famous historical figure. Possibly, too, read a classic or a modern novel for entertainment purposes. Reading can be for information, for knowledge, or for spiritual enlightenment. Reading increases the mind and develops its thinking capacity; in most TV programs a child can figure out the plot.
The old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," may be right, but if Jack doesn't work, he will become a poor boy. In the same sense perhaps if "Jack" watches excessive amounts of television, it could produce in him a passive attitude, limiting his ability to think effectively. We can learn to control the TV set by setting priorities and scheduling our time. We are to be masters of the channels, and not let the channels master us.
Watching television has become America's favorite pastime today, whether actually via a set, the Internet, or "smartphone." It has enhanced our attitudes, habits, and conversation, whether right or wrong. TV is useful for information and occasional wholesome entertainment, sure, but not as a means for molding a lifestyle. God would have us use the Bible for that. The Bible will teach the non-Christian how to begin that new life which will be pleasing to God; then it will train him how to live it actively and productively for God's glory.
Discipline, then, is the key to becoming efficient channel masters.
An alternative to TV viewing -- consider reading a novel...
Joseph Armstrong's father showed little concern for his wife and children. Work came first. Praise was a foreign language. All the while, he portrayed himself as flawlessly pious to those outside the family, making his home a potential hotbed for bitterness. But a devout mother bridged the gap-loving, teaching, and praying for her children. Her prayers were heard; Joseph's heavenly Father helped him rise above his circumstances to a life of purpose.