Books and Your Family's Spiritual Health

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When I was about 19, I was humbled to be given the opportunity to talk about “Harry Potter” at a Christian camp for teens. Having been completely captivated by the boy Wizard a couple of years earlier, I had a lot to say about the influence and draw of the books. I shared what I knew, what I'd researched about Witchcraft and Satanism with regard to the JK Rowling series, and why I decided Harry Potter was not what God would want me reading.

The strangest thing happened as I finished up my talk. A young girl sitting near me started weeping uncontrollably. At my age, I had no idea how to deal with what was happening. The girl was devastated. She had been drawn in – addicted to the books. And more girls started speaking up, feeling just like her - battling spiritual fights in their minds and souls. They were really confused and pretty messed up. Some older leaders prayed for them as I sat in awe that the topic could stir such over-the-edge emotions. At the time, I hadn't yet fully grasped how the spiritual darkness within the books had once affected me.

But over the past 10 years, I've devoted countless hours to researching information about Media Influence. I've discovered an upsetting trend. Many Christian parents are neglecting to seek knowledge about what their children are reading, watching, taking in. Some parents are starting to limit screen time and researching the content in the latest violent video game, but often times books are lost in the shuffle.

I've often heard it said, "I don't care what he's reading, as long as HE'S READING."   I couldn't disagree more.   Better your child not read at all than read books boiling over with destructive messages poured right into the mind and heart.

Whether it's books, television, video games, movies – every medium delivers a strong message either subliminal or direct. If we believe the Bible is Truth, than we must agree, we “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” ( Eph.6:10)

There are scores of books available today that suck children into dark spiritual worlds - far too many for me to list. A (small) sampling includes, bestsellers Percy Jackson, Vampire Diaries, the over-the-top successful Twilight series, all dabbling in dark spiritual content cleverly sugar-coated as "fiction" alongside the likes of Harry Potter. And many of these books (especially the Potter series) are used in countless schools within their classroom curriculum.

Books and stories take our children (and us!) on powerful journeys of the mind - opening a port-hole to potential danger if what they're reading is charged with negative spiritual messages and undertones. Not to mention the weird and costly messages about self-worth, sexuality, intimacy, relationships, purpose, heroism, and fate. After the wildfire success of the Twilight series, flocks of young girls were contacting Vampire clubs (sects) across the globe, begging for more information on becoming a 'real' Vampire. In fact, modern-day Vampire leaders have said Twilight did for Vampires what Harry Potter did for Wiccans and the Occult. As more Pagan and Satanist 'religions' become mainstream, they are viewed no longer as dangerous or forbidden, but attractive and 'fun'. Kids and teens by the millions are joining groups intimately involved in demonic worship. We can't turn a blind eye, this is not innocent "Kid Lit". Powerful words have the ability to hugely affect our children and lead them down extremely dangerous paths made to appear harmless.

As Christian parents, we have two major responsibilities when it comes to what our children read:

1. Protect our children from negative spiritual influences within literature. I suggest reading every book your children will read, and measuring the content against scriptural standards. If you don't like what you find, explain lovingly to your child(ren) why the book is inappropriate and/or why you feel convicted about it.

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (Philippians 4:8) Perhaps, READ about such things?

 2. Help our children grow to make wise choices about literature with relation to their spiritual walk.  I understand it's often easier said than done, to limit a child's intake of anything media-related. But when we set standards and stick to them, explaining the importance of God's Word and our beliefs as Christians, we are planting powerful seeds. By watching us make wise choices, children will learn how to evaluate media content, and will hopefully grow to make their own good choices about what they put into their hearts.

"... be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

 Remain in constant prayer and do not give up, friends!

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

For more information about Harry Potter, Twilight, and other hot influences in kid culture, visit my blog, Unplug Your Family.

Blessings,

Cassandra