I wrote this back in February, and I still need this lesson as much as I did back then...
“I made a covenant with mine eyes;”
This morning, I’m enjoying my favorite time of the year. Here in my little town, in the month of February, we begin to enjoy the loveliest season, when we’re saying “Good Bye” to the cold winter days. When I get up in the mornings, I love opening the windows of my house. But I’ve noticed something here lately: they’re a little dirty. It’s time for me to begin my routine spring cleaning.
God has given us “windows.” What’s more, He’s put them in our bodies. They’re our eyes, and our ears. All kinds of information and knowledge enter through these “windows” of ours. People who are deaf or blind need to use different methods so that these “cloudy windows” can allow entrance to information and knowledge.
Have you ever considered how little control we have over these “windows” of our body? For example, maybe in your home you don’t listen to worldly music; it could be that you are careful with what you watch on TV. But if you go to the mall, and there is wild music playing there that isn’t pleasing to God, you can’t avoid its entering into your ears. Although we can close our eyes, at times there are images that suddenly pass before our eyes unexpectedly, leaving an unforgettable impression.
There’s a children’s chorus that goes something like this, “Be careful little eyes what you see…Be careful little ears what you hear…” Actually, that children’s song could be a prayer for us ladies. Just as the Psalmist David says in Psalm 141:3, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips,” it would be a good idea to do what Job did with his eyes in Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with mine eyes;”
Has it ever occurred to you how many images enter the windows of our eyes every hour? What we do with those images is what’s important. While there are things we can’t control, we can control the way we react to those images.
What do you do with the things you hear? While we can close the windows of our eyes, or look the other way, at times we have no control over the things that enter into the windows of our ears. By the way, have you noticed in the past months how many people use earphones? Could it be because they’re so considerate of others that they don’t want to be a bother? Or is it because they don’t want others to hear what they’re listening to? For example, ever seen anyone in Wal-Mart, or in line at the bank, or behind the wheel of a car talking and talking as if they were talking to themselves? No. They put these things into their ears, or hook them around them, so they don’t have to use their hands. That way they can drive without putting others in danger. Or they can load their shopping cart and talk at the same time on their phone. Those are just some observations I’ve made perhaps because I’m a little behind the times in modern technology. It still looks strange to me to see kids…and adults…be-bopping to the sound of nothing.
Through the windows of our eyes and our ears we receive much more information than we did ten or twenty years ago. That’s why we need to care for them more than before; we need to keep them cleaner. It may even take more work, more time to be careful of what goes in.
I. The window of our ears. Now, it’s obvious that we should do certain basics to keep this window clean. You and I can control what we watch on TV, or inappropriate glances at men. But what about what you see on the Internet? I thank the Lord for modern technology, and what little I know about using it. But I must watch the time I spend in front of my computer screen. Usually, if you see me sitting at my computer (by the way, I’m writing this on a program called “Windows”) it’s because I’m working. 90% of my ministry consists of preparing lessons and answering e-mails. I have to discipline myself to turn on my computer. Sometimes when I’m going to make a short weekend Conference trip, I give myself a little vacation, and leave my laptop at home, because it represents my work, besides the fact that it’s a hassle to get it through airport security. There is a very well-known Web Site on the Internet where you can go and know, let’s say, what your friend on the other side of the world is doing at that precise moment. And double blessing if she’s your daughter or he’s your son! But I’m afraid that ladies who would never watch a soap opera, will spend time chatting, sharing gossip, instead of caring for her responsibilities as wife and mother. While I thank the Lord for this marvelous method of communicating, I’m afraid we know too much. My husband always said, “The less I know about someone, the better.” I sometimes think we ladies suffer illnesses that ten, twenty years ago, we didn’t even know existed. I’m amazed at the intelligence of some women. I was married to a pediatrician for 35 years, and I don’t know half the diseases my friends know, because they’ve investigated symptoms, remedies, and causes of diseases I’ve never even heard of. We know too much for our own good about things, even though maybe they’re important, or they don’t affect us, or maybe they do, but what do we gain by knowing them? What can we do to change them? The information we gain over the Internet worries us, stresses us out, and lets us know about things we’ll never be able to change. While I’m all for wisdom, and caring for our health, and going to the dentist twice a year, eating nutritious food, resting, etc.; and I agree that we should never ignore abnormal symptoms, we are traumatized by all this accumulation of knowledge. Supposedly the Internet should be a relaxing activity. But how many things did you see over the Internet today that brought you peace? Did something you see make you want to read your Bible more, or love your husband more, or be more faithful to church and to your responsibilities? Sometimes when I go to my computer I pray, “Lord, please don’t let me get any frightening news.” Be careful of the time you spend in front of your computer on the Internet. The windows of our eyes see things that cause covetousness. How easy it is to go shopping today without even leaving our home, without going to the bank to withdraw money, or even getting dressed! With one Click, we can put products in our shopping cart that if we had to go out, or hand over dollar bills, we would never purchase. We reserve tickets, hotels, cars, and cruises. All these details that I’ve observed about the Internet, we women who are in ministry are doing, the same as wives of laymen; women of affluence, as well as the college student who can barely pay her tuition. Technology has reached the most remote corners of the world. The culture where I live consists of Indians, farmers, simple people. But it’s very rare to see an Indian without a cell phone, and even cell phones have Internet access. By the way, do you know what your children are seeing in the messages they send and receive? Have you noticed that one of the qualities of the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 is that she watches over her family? Protect your children from things they shouldn’t see. While you are responsible for their physical growth and care while they’re small, you are also responsible for their spiritual growth if they still live in your house. Protect your husband. In Proverbs 31, the Virtuous Woman protects her family. Verses 15, 18, 21, and 27 suggest that she watches over her family. We see phrases like “She riseth also while it is yet night…” “her candle goeth not out by night.” “…all her household are clothed with scarlet.” “and eateth not the bread of idleness.” These phrases tell us that she gets up early, and at times she stays up late. She’s concerned about the security of her family, and she’s not lazy. The Virtuous Lady of Proverbs cares for and protects her loved ones. I believe that if she lived in our days she would protect her husband and her children from cursing, and blaspheming, and music that dishonors God. Our eyes are the windows which allow things to enter that affect our minds. Ask the Lord to put His angels around them.
II. The window of our ears. Perhaps this window is much harder to protect than the one of our eyes. It’s possible to close our eyes, or look the other way to avoid harmful things from entering. But what about our ears? Even though we might cover them up, we can’t completely avoid cursing, gossip, and jokes that might dishonor God, negative comments about our pastor, or music that is displeasing to the Lord. So, the only thing we can do is to be careful of the way we respond to these negative entries through the window of our ears. The sad thing is that many times they enter without warning. A few weeks ago I was on a plane. We were waiting to get off, and there was a group of men standing in the aisle beside my seat. They had visited my state here in Mexico. I’m ashamed to say that they were Americans. They were making inappropriate comments in English about the women here. There was absolutely nothing I could have done so that those comments didn’t enter the window of my ears. Perhaps they thought no one on the plane spoke English; but it’s most likely that they didn’t care if they offended bilingual ladies who were sitting close by. I have gotten on public transportation that had the radio on to a station that played English songs. The driver didn’t even know what the lyrics said. On occasions I’ve asked the driver to turn off the music, because it was offensive to me, and I didn’t want my teenage daughters who were with me to hear it. We should protest when it’s possible, as the Virtuous Lady would have done, to protect our windows, and those of our family. But besides the negative things that we can’t avoid, I’d like to focus on those we can control. For example, what do you do when a friend or a lady in the church comes to you with a bit of gossip? How can we respond to someone who starts to criticize our pastor, or our husband? Are you like a sponge, ready to absorb every drop of the delicious bad things of an acquaintance, or a friend? When someone starts to criticize the pastor, or his wife, do you jump at the chance to deposit your juicy news that you’ve been saving for just the right moment like this? What should we do when someone comes to us and starts criticizing or gossiping? There are three things we can do:
A) Go get the person who is being criticized
B) Defend her/him
C) Turn around and leave the presence of the person who is putting garbage in the windows of your ears.
It is a wise woman who protects her eyes and her ears from material impurities. But even wiser that woman who protects the windows of the eyes and ears of impurities, not only her own, but also those of her husband and her children.
So come on, ladies, and do some spring cleaning with me, starting with our windows.