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Confessions of an Ex-Soap Opera Addict


Hello, my name is Barb and I’m a former soap opera addict. (Yes, I know that sounds like I’ve just introduced myself at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.) From the time I was 10 years old until the time I was 32 I watched soap operas. My obsession began innocently enough in the late 60’s, when soaps were relatively innocuous, or so it seemed. Like the guy who shamefully sneaks out behind the garage every evening for a smoke so his wife and kids won’t find out, I had managed for years to keep my little habit hidden. Who would have thought that my two year-old daughter, Aubrie, would unwittingly blow the whistle on me. But that is precisely what happened.

I’d fallen asleep on the couch while watching one of my “forbidden shows” and as I dozed, Aubrie accidentally hit the record button on our VCR deck (for those of you under 35 this was kind of like a DVD player) recording “All My Children" over one of our home movies. When I awoke and discovered this I almost panicked. Not only was our home movie ruined, but my “DNA” was now all over the crime scene. I was busted and had no choice but to come clean, which proved to be one of the best things for my spiritual growth.

Let’s be honest, there isn’t anything redeemable about soap operas. But at ten years old I could never have imagined how the infidelity, deception and envy packed into those episodes would affect my mind and erode my values over time. But it did. As time went on, I became more and more desensitized to the characters on those shows cheating on each other, lying and gossiping. These themes became “normal” and on some level, acceptable to me. Sure, I knew these things were wrong, but it really didn’t bother me much. It was even entertaining.

While I was terribly embarrassed when my hands were caught in the soap opera “cookie jar”, I was at the same time both relieved and grateful. I was no longer a closet watcher. Now my husband knew and I had to deal with my sin. And yes, I have to call it what it was—sin. I knew this wasn’t pleasing to God, but had deceived myself into thinking it was no big deal.

But it was. God cares deeply about what we feed our minds which is why Paul admonishes believers in Philippians 4:8, saying, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Not only were my actions offensive to God, they were harmful to me and dishonoring to my husband and our marriage. I’m sure this sounds crazy to some, but soaps (along with so much of what is on TV today) are really a kind of “pornography” for women: they take women to places in their minds that they should not go. Whereas men are seduced by visual images, women are seduced by warm words and romantic fantasies. It’s not only men who need to guard their thoughts; women have a responsibility to do this as well.

I challenge you to do some honest-to-goodness soul searching. Is there something you’re inviting into your life or home? Perhaps some secret sin you’re hiding of which you’d be ashamed for others to know about? Is there something you’ve become desensitized to that has no place in a believer’s life?

Augustine wrote: “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.”  Don’t be afraid to confess and repent; God has something much better waiting for you.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2



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