How to Protect Little Eyes, Ears & Hearts
By Mary Southerland
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).
Friend to Friend
You know how kids are. Older children tend to think it’s their job to educate younger children about the facts of life – and I do mean the facts of life.
Two of our grandsons, Justus who is seven and Hudson who is five, often play with several boys in the neighborhood. Up until now, the older boys have protected Justus and Hudson and have always been kind enough to include them in whatever game they were playing. One of the 10-year-old boys told Danna that Justus and Hudson are the coolest little kids he has ever met. He attends our church and is such a sweet kid. He truly loves our grandsons and thinks of them as his little brothers.
Last week Justus and Hudson came in after playing with this boy. Our daughter immediately knew something was bothering them – especially Justus. Since he gave his heart to Jesus two years ago, Justus has had such a tender heart for God and desperately wants to please Him. Danna wisely waited for one of the boys to speak up.
After only a few minutes, Justus said…
“Mom, I need to tell you something.” Hudson solemnly nodded in agreement.Danna stopped her dinner preparation and came to sit by the boys. “What’s wrong, honey?” she gently asked. Tears filled his eyes as he explained that one of the boys had explained in vivid detail how men and women make babies. Hudson said, “Mom, I didn’t understand it all, but I didn’t like it.” Justus said, “I knew the way they were talking about it was wrong. They made it sound dirty, but I know it isn’t. My heart hurts, Mom.” Danna gathered both weeping boys in her arms and said, “Come with me, guys.”
Danna took the boys upstairs to the bedroom they share and pulled out their Bibles. She had them turn to Proverbs 4. Danna read the whole chapter, stopping along the way to answer a question or explain a verse. But when she got to verse 23, Danna said, “Guys, this is the verse I wanted you to hear.”
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
“You are going to hear and see things that you know are wrong. Jesus tells us that we have to constantly guard our hearts to keep the bad things out. We need to fill our hearts with good things. Can you tell me what some of those good things are?”
Hudson said, “Like when we read the Bible at night before bed. That’s a good thing, right?”
“It sure is, Hud!” Danna said.
“Talking to God about everything and trying to make Him smile are good things,” Justus offered.
“Absolutely!” Danna responded. “Jesus loves it when we fill our hearts with good things, but He also wants us to guard our hearts to keep bad things out – like what happened today. Justus, you were right when you said it is not a dirty thing when a man and woman who are married want to have a baby. It is a beautiful thing! But those boys made it seem dirty. You have to guard your heart and not let that kind of thing in.”
“Mom, I didn’t know what to do,” Justus exclaimed. “Those guys are our friends, and they take care of Hud and me … and they even go to our church!”
Danna said, “Well, you could have done a couple of things. You could have put your hand up and told them to stop, or you could have gotten up and walked away. They would have gotten the message.”
Then our daughter painted a beautiful picture we all need to see. We are in a war – the war between good and evil – and we always have to be ready to fight. We never know when the evil will come or where it will come from. It could come from a television show, a movie, a conversation over the back fence with a neighbor or over the phone with a friend or family member, in an email … and yes, even from someone who goes to our church. Danna picked up one of the Lego army figures that Hudson and Justus play with every day and said, “Picture soldiers stationed around your heart by God. They are standing shoulder to shoulder and when something bad tries to come in, Jesus yells ‘Incoming’ and those soldiers hit it full blast!” Justus and Hudson laughed … and then Justus quietly said, “You are so cool, Mom. Thanks.”
We need to do what Danna encouraged Justus and Hudson to do. We must fill our hearts with God’s Word and prayer. And then we must station God’s soldiers of truth and light around our hearts to keep the junk of this world out. How’s your heart?
If you need help learning how to trust God, get Mary’s new book,
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Mary Southerland is an author, international speaker, Founder of Journey Ministry, and Co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Her books include Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name.
Mary’s heart passion is to help women discover and live out their God-shaped identity and purpose in life. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!