Do You Find Entertaining What God Hates?
A CHRISTIAN minister and his wife had tickets to what was supposed to be a Shakespearean play. However, when they got to the theater they found that the Shakespearean play had not been very successful and so was replaced by a modern play. The audience was predominantly older folk, with middle and upper incomes, the theater being one of New York city’s finest.
After watching the play for about three or four minutes the minister turned to his wife and asked, “Are you ready?” She, knowing exactly what he had in mind, said, “Yes,” and they both got up and walked out. Why? The beginning of that play was so unimaginably filthy in language and gestures and content that they did not feel that they wanted to tolerate such an indignity. On other occasions, too, Christian witnesses of Jehovah have found it necessary to act like this couple, because of having been misled by advertising.
What does God hate? He hates all that is bad. He hates, among other things, ‘a heart that devises hurtful schemes and feet that are in a hurry to run to badness.’ (Prov. 6:16-19) Because he hates all that is bad he will judge adversely all who practice moral uncleanness.—Heb. 13:4.
Never before has there been so much moral filth on every hand. Motion pictures, stage plays, TV shows, books and magazines all pander to the popular interest in pornography and obscene things.
Why is human nature so prone to find entertaining what God hates? It is due to the bad start our first parents, Adam and Eve, gave us. Because of their embarking on a course of selfishness, disobedience and rebellion “the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up.” After receiving correction over serious sins committed against Jehovah, King David wrote: “With error I was brought forth with birth pains, and in sin my mother conceived me.”—Gen. 8:21; Ps. 51:5; 2 Sam. 12:7-14.
The pleasure that imperfect humans get from things that God hates might be likened to the craving that a diabetic man has for sweets. Diabetes is largely an inherited disease, although indiscretion in eating and drinking or other factors can hasten its onset and aggravate its seriousness. Due to a faulty body chemistry, the victim has a strong craving for the very thing he should not have. It calls to mind a line from Shakespeare: “Your affections are a sick man’s appetite, who desires most that which would increase his evil.” Yes, just as certain sick states are accompanied by cravings for that which would aggravate the sickness, so our inherited fallen tendencies incline us to what is bad.
We dare not yield to any craving for bad entertainment. Why not? Because we will get so used to it we will find ourselves inclined toward practicing it, and then when a strong temptation comes along we will succumb and fall, to our lasting grief.
Even the apostle Paul had a struggle along this line. That is why he wrote: “The good that I wish I do not do, but the bad that I do not wish is what I practice. I find then, this law in my case: that when I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me. I really delight in the law of God . . . but I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my members.”—Rom. 7:19, 21-23.
What will safeguard us? Deeply and sincerely hating what Jehovah hates, yes, abhorring it: “Abhor what is wicked.” (Rom. 12:9) That is not an easy thing to do. As one woman writer who had a hard time trying to stop smoking put it: “How can I hate that which gives me pleasure?” But one can make up one’s mind and keep telling oneself to hate, to abhor what is bad, wicked, injurious, what is destructive, what is unwise. The apostle Paul did something about it, as he wrote to another Christian congregation: “I pummel my body and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved somehow.”—1 Cor. 9:27.
This does not mean that Paul literally pummeled his body the way Martin Luther did while a monk, scourging his body till the blood flowed. Rather, Paul disciplined himself; he exercised rigid, severe self-control. Because of doing so he could write: “In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with; but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, . . . by purity, . . . by love free from hypocrisy.” We need to do the same.—2 Cor. 6:3, 4, 6.
We are commanded to love God with all our heart and soul, all our mind and strength. If we truly love God we will want to avoid all that displeases him. (Mark 12:30) He is holy and wants us to be holy. (1 Pet. 1:15, 16) There is also the matter of appealing to enlightened self-interest. God commands us to love ourselves, but likewise to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Mark 12:31) We must keep telling ourselves that indulging in what is bad simply is not worth it. As God’s Word puts it: “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap; because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.”—Gal. 6:7, 8.
Developing wholesome mental habits will help. Let us keep watching what we read, what we look at, what we let our minds dwell on. Reading the Bible daily will help, even memorizing Bible texts. Nor should we overlook the value gained from prayer. Make prayer a habit. “Persevere in prayer.” Jesus set a fine example for us, for of him it is written: “You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness.”—Rom. 12:12; Heb. 1:9.
What reward is there for such efforts? We will find true in our case the further words of the apostle Paul: “Godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” This means walking the narrow and difficult road of self-discipline, but peace of mind and contentment go with it now, and the end thereof is everlasting life.—1 Tim. 4:8; Matt. 7:13, 14.