While the words to “Oh Be Careful Little Eyes” are rather simple in nature, in light of the previous verses of this song, it is easy to see that this song contains some rather profound truths, which we would all be wise to live by. Sadly, some things are more easily said than done; even such simple things as paying heed to what we look at, being careful where we go, and guarding our tongues against speaking evil. With our sinful human nature, these sins are by no means new. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6).
Sight quickly led Eve to sin, and today the visual temptations are stronger and brighter than ever. We are bombarded with all sorts of visual advertising, brainwashing, and selling and we need to be aware of the powerful effect this has on our lives. Because we use our eyes to understand the world around us, we can often let this sense control our other senses and affect our judgment.
Television takes up a vast amount of the average American’s visual input. The most recent figure from Nielsen Media Research, Inc. is 4 hours and 35 minutes per day, up three minutes from last year. Now, let’s add that up. That is 31½ hours every week (almost a second job!). That is also 5½ solid days per month and more than two whole months every year. By age 70 that is over 13 years watching television!
Much of the same type of statistics can be applied to the internet. The internet, though, as opposed to the TV for the most part during daytime hours, does NOT have enough filters to handle all the garbage that saturates it. A seemingly harmless video on www.youtube.com could be pornography, but listed with other things because of the information loaded in its search engine. So instead of seeing a video clip, you could see pornography or very close to pornography with a simple click of a mouse. Even images on the well-known search engine Google are filled with sexual content, and anti-God glorifying material.
Books, bulletin boards, movies, newspapers—you name it—all contain massive amounts of advertising, with much emphasis on certain aspects of our sinful nature. After listening to a Public Storage ad, I was quite confused. The whole ad shows how much inflation has affected our culture. You can buy a tiny bit of gasoline for $1. After a few examples of what $1 can buy, it says that you can buy one month’s worth of storage for only a dollar. Why would we need storage if things are so expensive? Wouldn’t we have less, if the value of a dollar can buy less? That just emphasizes that we cannot discern good reasoning. Our American culture is obsessed with material goods; goods we can see: shiny, brand-new, and hyper-inflated by retailers just so they could make 18% profit on a sale. Are we truly any happier after purchasing one item? No. Since our flesh is governed by our covetousness, it is impossible from our nature’s point of view to be content.
All these types of media are not passive. There are distinct virtues and ideals emphasized by certain personalities which need utmost discernment by all audiences of every age. Parents must be able to see through what the media says. Oprah has been quoted as saying, “It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn—which is what life is all about.”  Granted, not all of Oprah’s quotes are so blatantly humanistic; however, her message is clear. Life is all about finding out who you are, and being confident in whom you are. It’s not about a life of humility before God. It’s not a life striving for the good of your neighbor. It’s a life satisfying your own personal desires. Is that living out the antithesis?
Disney movies are clearly not a place where we should look for affirmation of our system of beliefs. Walt Disney himself said that “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” The movies can stand for themselves as being not necessarily the BEST form of entertainment that godly men, women, and children should be filling their time with. Despite the many entertaining scenes, we are also subject to many vulgarities, sexual innuendos, new age philosophies, not to mention the idea of what our body image is supposed to be.
Movies by Walt Disney are not the only misleading source of technological brainwashing. “Television is altering the meaning of ‘being informed’ by creating a species of information that might properly be called disinformation. Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information—misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information—information that creates the illusion of knowing something, but which in fact leads one away from knowing.” Neil Postman in this quote shows us an important point. Given all the technology in our era and all the possible ways we can receive information, is that information in actuality all that relevant to what really matters? Is our God, the God of grace, the God of creation, the God of supreme holiness being honored through what we feast our eyes on at all times of the day?
I know many people who can list off massive amounts of statistics regarding the Cubs or White Sox. Still others can list the finalists of American Idol, or brag up the latest plot twist in a Lost episode. What is that saying about our priorities when those types of thoughts are constantly at the forefront of our minds? Shouldn’t we be concerned with the widows’ welfare in our church? Helping out our brother or sister in need? Do you worry about what clothes you wear to church more than your spiritual preparation for coming to the supper of the Lord? Fellow believers, how do you spend your time after work? What types of books do you read? How much time do you spend in front of the television after school? These are but a few of the questions that we as elect children of God should be asking ourselves every day. Are we fighting the battle of faith? Or are we relaxing with the world and letting Hollywood entertain us?
It is so easy to point the finger at others who you know are deep in these types of sins. We all are drowning in this quick sand of materialism, individualism, commercialism, hedonism—you name it. We know from the Bible that we often promptly point out the mote in someone else’s eye, before looking at our own self. That’s the easy way out. It’s a lot more painful looking at our own sinful natures, and realizing the God knows all that we think about, and is judging us by our works. “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” (Matthew 18:9).
When we look to him and consciously fill ourselves with light, our purpose in life should be made clearer, our comfort in life will be made manifest, and the continual struggle against our flesh will lead us to strive for heaven. Shouldn’t we all desire to be in the place where there is neither sorrow, nor crying, nor any more pain?
Heaven is our goal as believers. That means we have to walk the straight and narrow path. Over high hills, and down into deep valleys. Ours is a life of service to God. This means hardships, many hardships. This means spending more time with God in prayer, reading his word, understanding the doctrines that you stand for. It means reading God-glorifying books. It also means saying no to things though that may not be popular to your friends.
In all things, fellow believers, remember that God is watching us too. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). He sees what we watch, read, and do. He knows the inner workings of our hearts. The road we walk is hard. Keep on fighting the battle of faith against the lust of the eyes all our days.