Children of God laughing at and finding enjoyment in sinful behavior? I’m afraid so. It’s one of the unquestionable indicators that some of us need to step back and assess, in light of God’s Word, what entertains us. We live in a time in which it is so easy to let the ways of a depraved world become our ways.
Little by little, some Christians are becoming accustomed to the presence of sinful behavior around them, and in their increasingly desensitized state, some have even started to like it. By that, I don’t necessarily mean that these Christians are taking part in many of the world’s sins. Rather, they are finding enjoyment in seeing or hearing of the sins of others.
For example, do you enjoy television programs and movies that glorify sin? Do you enjoy the risqué story? Do you laugh at the “colorful” language of the world? While visiting in the home of a fine Christian couple recently, my wife and I saw a simple sign perched atop their television set. It read “How dare we be entertained by the things that sent Jesus to the cross!”
That sobering thought reminds me of Genesis 9:20-27, where we read of Noah’s drunkenness and its devastating results. Though a good man on the whole (Genesis 6:8), Noah was not perfect. The Bible tells of his getting drunk and becoming “uncovered in his tent.” While the drunken Noah was lying naked on his bed, his son Ham “saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside” (9:22). According to a number of sources, the word “saw” in that passage can include the idea of enjoyment or satisfaction.
The word told could be translated “told with delight.” The sense is not so much that Ham found some lewd gratification in his father’s nakedness, but that he simply thought that the whole situation was funny. Shem and Japheth, thankfully, did not share their brother’s sense of humor. It was no laughing matter.
It is simply not proper to find enjoyment or pleasure in sin, be it our own or someone else’s. Love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing” (1 Corinthians 13:6 ESV). Only “fools mock at sin” (Proverbs 14:9). When Jesus saw sinful behavior, He responded with emotions like anger (Mark 3:5) and tearful sorrow (Luke 19:41). In light of these passages, can you honestly picture the Lord having a chuckle at adultery, lying, obscene language, witchcraft, jealousy, drunkenness, and the like (Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5- 10; Ephesians 5:3-4)? Neither can I.
What does it say, then, to know of so many professed Christians who derive great pleasure and enjoyment from television programs that glorify sin? (“Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Breaking Bad” come to mind as recent examples of wildly popular shows that are notoriously filled with sexual content, gratuitous violence, and/or foul language.)
Carefully consider Paul’s admonition to the Church in Ephesus, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:3- 4 ESV). Verse 3 in the NIV reads, in part, “… among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality … .” How can we keep “even a hint of sexual immorality” out of our lives and “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), while being entertained by some of the very sins that sent Jesus to Calvary?
May we all examine ourselves (Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5) and adopt the attitude of the psalmist, “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Psalms 119:104). It’s hard to be entertained by something you hate.
By Eddie Parish
This article first appeared in Think magazine. To learn more, or to subscribe, click here.
1 Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record, (Baker Book House, 1976), p. 235. H.D.M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 1, “Genesis/Exodus” (Eerdmans Publishing Co., no date), p. 149.
C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1, “The Pentateuch” (Hendrickson Publishers, 1866-91), p. 98.
2 Morris, p. 235.