I don’t trust artificial sweeteners. I know people think sugar is the bad guy, but I would rather have something in my body that is pure than something brought about by a chemical process, no matter how many calories come with it. That said, I was shocked to realize that in spite of my good intentions, artificial sweeteners had managed to sneak their way into my house.
My realization came when I noticed sucralose in the ingredient list on a box of granola bars in my house. (Sucralose is the artificial sweetener most commonly known as Splenda.) I had been buying these granola bars for months. Sure, I knew they advertised containing 25% less sugar. I just didn’t stop to think about what that meant. I felt horrible. I should have looked into it more closely when I began buying them. Instead I saw that these granola bars had three times as much fiber as the other bars, and that sounded good and healthy to me. I didn’t bother to look more closely. You see, I somewhat investigated what I was giving my children, but that wasn’t good enough. The artificial sweetener was able to sneak in.
I know many people like artificial sweeteners, and that’s fine, but there is something else that was able to sneak its way into my house last week that’s not fine. Not for anyone trying to live a holy life. It was the latest Hardee’s commercial.
If you know my family, then you know that we don’t really watch television. We watch some movies here and there, and some sports for my youngest child and her father, but that’s about it. Television is not what we want our family feeding their souls on daily. I made an exception last week. I decided that I would watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Do you see that? I decided. I wanted to see the Olympics, so I brought it into my house and fed it to my children.
The Olympics in general aren’t the problem. The problem was the latest Hardee’s commercial that appeared right in the middle of the opening ceremony. Now I haven’t stepped foot in a Hardee’s since they began using sexually explicit commercials in their advertising. I can’t support anything that so openly promotes ideas that God hates. When that commercial came on, I sat frozen for a few seconds. When you don’t watch television, you are shocked when you are reminded of what has become accepted in our culture. (If you haven’t seen it, please don’t go watch it. It’s just Hardee’s usual motif of using sex to sell hamburgers.) After the initial shock, I grabbed the remote and turned it off. It disgusted me, and I wanted it out of my house.
After that night, we put the NBC app on my computer, and we’ve been watching the Olympics that way ever since. No commercials. My youngest daughter can watch all the Olympics she wants without us having to worry about that commercial trying to sneak in.
Guess what, though? I hadn’t learned my lesson. Just two nights ago, my oldest daughter wanted to borrow my computer so that she could work on a story she’s writing. I really wanted to watch the Olympic swimming that night. No problem. I’ll just watch it on television, and she can have the computer. I told myself it would be fine. Surely that commercial won’t sneak in again.
Wrong. The commercial appeared again. I wasn’t even being diligent to watch for it. I had my head down working on a jigsaw puzzle. It was my husband who saw it and turned it off this time. (I’m so thankful for him and his willingness to do that!)
Being diligent in keeping our children’s hearts pure (and our own!) can be tiresome. Sometimes we just want to rest, work a puzzle, and watch swimming. That’s when Satan will sneak in. When we choose to see the fiber in the granola bars instead of the Splenda, when we tell ourselves It will be fine when we know a threat exists, that’s when the unholy will sneak into our lives.
My goal is to be as David writes in Psalm 101:3-4:
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.
I know that my children will be faced with ungodly images in their lives. When you live in the world, there is just no avoiding it altogether. But it won’t be in my house. I will set no worthless, ungodly thing before my eyes or my family’s – just like I won’t intentionally feed them artificial sweeteners. I want to grow my family on what is pure. They’ll consume foods with artificial sweeteners, and they will see things that are unholy, but they won’t come from me. I will not feed my children’s souls, or mine, on thoughts and images that are impure and unholy. That is not who we are called to be.
But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
We’ve all heard the saying You are what you eat. How true this is especially when it comes to what we feed our souls! Let us be diligent to clean the worthless, ungodly things from our homes. Let us closely examine what we feed our children. Their souls depend on it.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8