Another gate into our lives is our eyes (for context see the previous two posts). This gate may be even more under attack than our ears. Images abound in our society. From TV, to YouTube, to movies, to billboards, to Facebook and Instagram, to everything and everyone we see in a day or a night, our eyes are constantly bombarded with pictures good and bad. Are not most of the reality TV shows nothing more than voyeurism? Once seen, an image cannot be unseen, so we need to guard this opening into our lives very carefully.
For Reflection: We can train ourselves to avert our eyes and even avoid the temptation altogether. If we think a TV show or movie is going to be excessively violent or sexually suggestive, we can avoid it. TV and movies now warn of sexual and violent content. Do we pay attention to the ratings or disregard them? Now that pornography is readily available over the internet, have we succumbed to watching it? When did voyeurism become acceptable in our lives? Have we been flooding our eye gate with harmful images?
Let us pray. Jesus, first I repent for looking at images I should not have. I ask you to forgive me for not being more careful with the eyes that you entrusted to me. Second, I ask you to remove from my memory the images that don't belong there, that tear people down, that tear me down, rather than lifting people up. I ask you to remove all images that don't give glory to you in some way. Help me to close my eyes to people and things around me that are not good for me to see and to concentrate on those images that are uplifting. Help me to see all people as you made them to be, in your image.
Over the last week or so, I've been reading the book of Nehemiah. Yes, it is ancient history and has long lists of who and how many did what. But I've been intrigued by the necessity of building a wall of protection around the city.
The setting is Jerusalem during the time of the exiles returning from Babylon in the mid-400s B.C. (The Babylonians had completely flattened the city while taking all but a few of the Israelites captive.) Ezra, the priest, has been leading the returnees in rebuilding the Temple and restoring worship. People also had to start their lives over. Housing, farms and flocks had to be re-established. In the middle of all this, Nehemiah, a wine steward to the Persian king (the Persians had conquered the Babylonians), asked to be allowed to return to Jerusalem to help rebuild the city. He even gets supplies, particularly timber, to erect a new city wall. Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem, rallies the people and builds a new city wall, gates included, in only 52 days. Even their enemies recognize that such a feat is only possible with God's assistance.
This story got me thinking about walls and what wall of protection we might need in our own lives as Christians. Do we need such a wall of protection? If so, do we have one? If not, how do we get one?
Stay tuned. We'll have more on this in the coming days.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.