Just A "Little" Sin

Two teenagers asked their father if they could go to the theater to watch a movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about the movie on the internet, he denied their request. “Aw, Dad! Why not?” they complained. “It’s rated PG-13, and we’re both older than 13!”

Dad replied, “Because that movie contained nudity and portrays immorality as being normal and acceptable behavior.”

“But Dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That’s what our friends who’ve seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film. It’s based on a true story, and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the movie web sites say that!”

“My answer is no, and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that film. End of discussion.”

The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of their father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon recognized the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers said to the other, “Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he’s going to try and make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let us go to that movie after all.”

The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate of warm brownies which he offered to his kids. They each took one. Their father said, “Before you eat, I want to tell you something: I love you both very much.” The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was softening. “That is why I’ve made these brownies with the very best ingredients. I’ve made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic. The best organic flour, the best free-range eggs, the best organic sugar, premium vanilla, and chocolate.” The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a little impatient with their dad’s long speech. “But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from the barnyard. But you needn’t worry, because I only added the tiniest bit to the brownies. The amount is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bit and let me know what you think.”

“Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we eat?”

“Why? The portion I added was so small…just a teaspoonful. You won’t even taste it.”

“Come on, Dad. Just tell us what that ingredient is.”

“Don’t worry! It’s organic, just like the other ingredients.”


“Well, OK, if you insist. That ingredient is carrion.”

Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began inspecting their fingers with horror. “Why did you do that? We can’t eat these brownies!”

The father asked, “Why not? The amount of this particular ingredient I added is very small compared to the rest of the ingredients. It won’t hurt you. It’s been cooked right along with the other ingredients. You won’t even taste it. It has the same consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat!”

“No, Dad! Never!!!”

The father said to his children, “And that is the same reason I won’t allow you to go watch that movie. You won’t tolerate a ‘little’ filth in your brownies, so why should you tolerate a ‘little’ immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not lead us into temptation, so how can we in good conscience entertain ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?”

Is PG-13 only harmful to those 13 and under? Are the damaging effects conditioned upon parental consent? On the day of the Passover, the Israelites were commanded to remove every bit of leaven from their homes. Sin is like leaven; a little bit leavens the whole lump (1 Corinthians 5.6).

Consider a statement by Tertullian (140-230 AD), who recognized the damaging effects of viewing sin. He wrote: “The father who carefully protects and guards his virgin daughter’s ears from every polluting word takes her to the theater himself, exposing her to all its vile language and attitudes.” He asked rhetorically, “How can it be right to look at the things that are wrong to do? How can those things which defile a man when they go out of his mouth not defile him when going in through his eyes and ears?” (Tertullian, The Shows: Ch. 21,17).

Let us heed the words of Jesus on defilement of the heart (Matthew 15.17-20).