For those who missed the privilege of living through the 80s (or who spent the entire decade huddled in the fetal position under their desk in a nuclear bomb shelter) Knight Rider, featuring Michael Knight and his tricked-out Trans Am, was the family television drama to watch. At least it was for me when I was a middle schooler.
So imagine my excitement one Christmas morning, 20 years later, when I received the first season of Knight Rider on DVD!
RAD! I was so mega stoked about sharing my favorite show of adolescence with my own kids in their adolescence.
But that was before I put the first disc in the player. In fact, here’s how I describe my reaction in the first study guide in our discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation:
“For the first time in my life I had to face this embarrassing truth: my favorite childhood television drama lacked anything worthy of admiration. The plots were pathetic, the dialogue dismal, the acting atrocious and the special effects phony.
I didn’t want to let myself believe it. I kept thinking,
‘It really wasn’t this bad.
It’s going to get better.
It can’t get any worse!’
But it was…
it did not…
and it could (and did).
After five episodes I gave up. I could not bear to watch anymore. I was as disappointed as the day I found out Santa wasn’t real. I almost hated myself for being taken in so easily; for being such an immature kid, when I was an immature kid.”
Worse than the “quality” of the entertainment, was the quality of the underlying messages each campy episode was communicating to my spirit.
However, I now realize Knight Rider was just the metaphorical tip of the proverbial iceberg. There were many lies I was buying into back then, lies that influenced my choices and directed my behavior in some ways silly and some scary. In fact, if I could go back in time, there are 13 lies I would want to expose to my 13-year-old self.
However, since I wouldn’t want to put myself on the defensive right away, I wouldn’t start off by taking on Knight Rider. (Nobody back then would dare take on Michael Knight. Except Mr. T.) Instead, I’d begin with a decision I made before I turned 13 which I still find admirable.
Dear 13-year-old me,
Lie #1: Your personal convictions should be everyone’s
The decision you made recently to honor God with all the music you listen to, write, or perform will wind up being one of the most important decisions of your life. This deliberate, sacrificial choice of obedience will lead to many others which will grow your faith in (and relationship with) God.
More than you realize now, music wields a powerful influence over your spirit, mind, and soul. That’s why it was so important for you to surrender this part of your life to God at such an early age. You will thank yourself when you are my age. (Hey I already am thanking you!)
However, what you need to understand is that for others, music simply isn’t the battleground of concern. God’s working on them in different areas. Maybe some areas which He hasn’t begun working on with you.
Like, take your choice in television shows, for instance.
Lie #2: No nudity. No foul.
Oh myself! If only I could get you to realize what countless episodes of Knight Rider and Silver Spoons are doing to your mind. I know what you’re thinking. “There’s nothing bad about those shows. There’s no cussing, or violence or nudity.” And you’re right!
However, just like music, every television show and movie communicates one or more messages. You need to pay careful attention!
Don’t just turn the TV on and your brain off.
Identify, the messages being sold to you; lies about your identity, what’s important in life, how relationships work, and what you deserve. Because, if you don’t recognize the messages they’re selling you and learn to critically evaluate them, you will subconsciously grow to believe them.
Lie #3: You don’t have a porn problem.
Speaking of nudity, the ironic reality is that while you won’t listen to sexually explicit lyrics from the likes of Prince and Madonna, you will take in pornography whenever you can get it (as long as you don’t think anyone will find out).
However, since you won’t have that kind of access very often you, you won’t look at it very often which will lead you to naively believe it’s not a real problem for you. You’ll feel you have it under control; except for the intimates section of the Sears catalogue. (No. I wasn’t watching you. I was you!)
The reality is you already have a monumental problem, and you’ll realize that one day in the future when you will be able to access pornography anonymously at any time of the day or night.
As I already urged you back when you were nine, PLEASE tell your parents about this struggle. And now that you have Jim, the church youth guy, tell him too. Ask all of them to help you avoid and resist this ruthless temptation. (Start by throwing out the Sears catalogue.)
Lie #4: A good Christian doesn’t struggle with temptation.
Speaking of asking for help. There are two reasons why you don’t want to do this: pride and shame. We’ll deal with those more later, but first let’s address the specific lie which brings bring both pride and shame to life when it comes to the prospect of asking for help
You think that if you’re really a good Christian you won’t struggle with temptation, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Everyone who wants to be good struggles with temptation.
The only people who don’t struggle with temptation are those who simply give in without a fight. So you shouldn’t be ashamed that you struggle any more than you should be ashamed that you poop.* And taking pride in not struggling with temptation would be like bragging about not sweating during a workout.
You can’t work out without sweating and you can’t follow Jesus without struggle. In fact, whether or not you follow Christ, struggle is as much a part of life as sweating is a part of elevating your heart rate.
And it’s because I care about your heart and I want you to live life to the full (sweat and all), that I’m pointing out these lies to you. In fact, I’ve got more to share, but I’ll give you a week to confront these lies for now.[Click here for that next post: My Worst Enemy when I was 13]
* I know as a middle school boy, you can’t help, but love a good scatalogical reference, so there you are.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
Want to go beyond what a blog post can accomplish? The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE!
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!