Turmoil in the Toy Box

old doll in toybox

When I was little, I had an off-brand Cabbage Patch Kid. Her name was Virginia and she had bright red hair like me and green eyes, like me. But, alas, Virginia didn’t have the signature “Xavier” scrawled on her butt, which all my friends inevitably checked for and then mocked me for being a poser. (The tangled web of third grade social politics was constantly tripping me up.) 

You see, my parents had read a book called, “Turmoil in the Toy Box” which drew a clear and direct line from every major toy on the shelves straight to Satan and the occult. So, for me and my younger brother it was an era devoid of television and its resulting debauchery like Care Bears, Scooby Doo, Barbies, Smurfs, He-Man, branded Cabbage Patch Kids, GI Joe or “Get in Shape, Girl!” stuff. In a nutshell, “Turmoil in the Toy Box“, along with my thick glasses and the tendency to flinch at anything thrown toward me, put the kabash on any hope of childhood relatability and branded me a dork for many years. 

Isn’t it funny now many of the things you hated as a kid you sort of respect now, or can at least rationalize why your parents did it? I understand, now, why my mom sent us to school with gritty peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread, grapes and salt-free pretzels for snacks when the other kids had bologna sandwiches with fake American cheese, Fruit by the Foot and Doritos. Do I think doing toe touches while listening to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” on the Get In Shape, Girl! tape would have thrust me under the spiritual authority of the rules of the darkness of this age?  (Ephesians 6:12) Nope. Do I think the witchcraft in the Smurf’s is way too close for comfort to things that really happen in spiritual darkness? Oh yes. 

Here’s the thing: Ethylene glycol (aka antifreeze) is a quick-acting and deadly poison, but people and animals can ingest it without realizing it because it tastes so sweet. And then they die and no body knows how it happened. Even if they survive, their inner organs are often damaged beyond repair. (I watch a lot of Dateline...) While you don’t need to have a “Turmoil in the Toybox” kind of house (please do NOT have that kind of house!), you’re kidding yourself if you think your kids aren’t being poisoned by what they’re watching, playing with and listening to – and that it won’t kill their faith.

The antidote to the world’s poison is Jesus Christ. You know that already. But does He get more airtime than Fortnight? YouTube? Facebook? Snapchat? Roblox? Netflix? Minecraft? Assassin’s Creed? I could go on. I’m speaking to myself as much as I am to you. As Christians, we must have a constant gut check about what we expose our spirits to.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you…” Paul wrote in Romans 2:12. Jesus drew lines in the sand, so you certainly have the authority to do that. Warning: He was not popular for doing this… Wanna be more like Jesus now?! 

Anywhoo… We don’t play close to the line between heaven and hell at our house, and we do absolutely filter what the kids watch and we don’t relent even amid the weeping and gnashing of teeth, or, let’s be honest, the sheer convenience of just shutting them up with what they want. Drawing lines in the sand is annoying and hard, but worth it. We do, however discuss why we don’t watch or do certain things we see others doing and why we honor Jesus Christ with our choices.

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you,” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:17. Hebrews 5:26 says that we are who are in Christ, when we have become affected by the world’s dirtiness, we are washed clean with the water of God’s Word. We need to be people who love and respect and desire God’s Word in our hearts and in our homes. There is a battle for your interest and attention and for your kids – between Jesus and the power of Gray Skull!! Who will win!?

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