The Enemy At Your Door

The Enemy At Your Door

By Greg and Ruthanna Marshall

 

Growing up I don’t know if you ever read a short story by Rudyard Kipling called Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (maybe you saw the made for TV cartoon). This wonderful short story is about a British family living in India. The little boy has a pet mongoose that proves to be an amazing protector for the family. The mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi kills a threatening cobra that has tried to attack the family. This story is about the friendship between the boy and his pet as well as the protection that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi gives. What if cobras were after your family, in your home? What would you do? Would you ignore the problem and hope that the danger never got to close to your loved ones? What family, knowing the continued danger from these venomous cobras would throw caution to the wind, leaving the house open and unprotected? You would do something about it, right? You would protect your family at all costs.

I write today to remind you of a danger every bit as real as a poisonous serpent. Many of us have in our homes something that can be every bit as life threatening as a cobra. I speak of our computers and our cell phones that are connected to the internet. Of course used wisely and with supervision, these machines can be a wonderful aide in school work, connect us to a treasure trove of knowledge and allow us to communicate with loved ones all over this globe. Used unwisely, without thought to where, when or how it is used our computers can connect us to some of the darkest, most vile places on earth, leaving us and our children exposed and in danger. Think I overstate the problem? I have been amazed at the number of news specials  that have dealt with internet pornography, pedophilia, and sexual predators who use the internet to track down unsuspecting children. Date Line did a number of specials where sting operations were set up to lure sexual predators into homes where they thought a young boy or girl was awaiting them. This was usually done on line in chat rooms and the adult was told to meet the child or teen at his or her “home”. The cameras were rolling as these sick individuals made their visit. Dozens and dozens of adult men have been captured on video as they arrived at these homes and were quickly arrested. It is frightening how many people there are who selfishly want to harm children. Thankfully, some of these individuals are arrested but thousands are not and continue to harm children and teens. If you are interested in learning more about these investigations, google Dateline: To Catch A Predator. It is truly eye-opening.

These dangers may not be news to you. You may be very familiar with the dangers that face your children and teens; I hope you are! Hundreds and maybe even thousands of children and teens put themselves at risk entering chat rooms, talking with people they do not know, giving out information that they should not. The main question is: Are you aware of where your children and teens are going and what they are looking at on the internet? While that box in your home or in your hand can be a wonderful tool, it can also be a gateway to hell, allowing into your home a serpent with dark intent. Here are some things to think on as you seek to protect your family. Do you know where your children and teens are going on the internet? Take a moment each week to browse the internet history to see where they have been. Do you have a filter on your computers that block unwanted and inappropriate material? Go to your local store that sells software (Best Buy, Office Depot, etc.) and ask for help finding a good filter program. They are very inexpensive and very worth it. Do your teens have a computer in their room? You will have to determine if this is the best place for this. Are there safeguards in place so this does not become a private place for private sin? Dads (and moms) have you talked with your sons (and daughters) about pornography? What safeguards do you have in your life to help you flee from this devastatingly addictive material? One of the best aides to holding one another accountable in this area is www.covenanteyes.com. It is a service that once set up will provide accountability for what you or your teen are looking at on the internet. Recently, Covenant Eyes also added the ability to filter and block content on your devices and computers in addition to its accountability features.  Covenant Eyes will email your accountability partner, whomever you specify, a list of all the sites you visited in a certain period of time. The report provides the time, a link and its rating (mature, teen, etc), and the amount of time spent on each site; again, it now has the ability to block material so if you had looked at Covenant Eyes in the past, it is worth checking into again.  Moms (and dads) have you talked with your daughters (sons) about chat rooms? I’ve seen too many reports lately on students who inadvertently gave away information to strangers only to have it used against them. Have you visited your teen’s pages (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) to see what they are writing and putting on there? You may have had a diary when you were growing up and would have been devastated if your mom read through it but these pages can be public and intended to be visited by other people. Teens today treat their pages as a modern day diary, putting down the most personal and intimate information and details, sometimes too personal and way too intimate.

Is all of this too much? Is this just an overreaction to kids having fun and is it too much an invasion of privacy? If the stakes where not so high, I might agree. If the danger was not so great, I might agree. The world is too full of emotionally and physically abused and used up children and teens for these problems and dangers to be ignored. I know you love your children. You want the best for them. You want to protect them. Would you allow them to take into their bedroom a deadly serpent to run loose on the floor, reasoning that they might not get bitten?  Scripture tells us that Satan is an ancient serpent who desires to lead us astray (Revelations 12:9) and that he is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8).  Let us not forget, as Ephesians 6:12 states, that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Let us “be wise as serpents” and in the name of Jesus, through His power, let us seek to protect our children both physically and spiritually.