There is nothing more dangerous than a bad idea.
We warn against and avoid drugs, immorality, alcohol abuse and violence...but not bad ideas.
Parents are content if their kids' behavior looks good...free of all the typical "bad things"...forgetting or ignoring the truth that all bad behaviors are conceived in the mind as ideas.
Some of those ideas are born right at home, from the cursed flesh we have to endure as human beings, but many are injected into the mind from the outside...through the ears and eyes. We cannot escape the desires of the flesh, but can only fight them with God's wisdom, but what about the outside sources?
Books, media, teachers and friends. All of these wonderful things can breed horrific consequences, if not managed well. All of these can carry bad ideas, like a Trojan Horse, and we allow it to happen by listening to everything. I'm becoming convinced that listening is not always beneficial, in fact, it can be fatal. Refusing to listen to someone or something seems wrong at first glance...intolerant, un-open, naive, but Ecclesiastical wisdom says that there is a time for everything under the sun...even to close the ears and eyes? I think so.
We are familiar with the dangers of TV, books and overt bad language, but do we notice a bad idea? A movie might be free of swearing, nudity and blood, but what ideas did it plant in the mind? Do we walk away when we hear people say things that make our hair stand on end or the little white cherub sits up on our shoulder, whispering warnings in our ear? People we love dearly and have great influence on us are still imperfect beings, fighting selfish motives. Conscience must be primed by the pouring of God's wisdom, daily, so that these bad ideas are noticed, evaluated and then rejected before they seed the mind. Especially ones wrapped in beautiful disguises.
Young worldly circles are a breeding ground for bad ideas. Universities and internet groups where pride reigns. I've been a part of all of these...thankfully, escaped with my life and mind intact...not undamaged, but curable. Find circles and schools where those involved are seeking after God with a PURE HEART...not perfect behavior...that's a fairytale. Pure motives can only be known with testing.
"Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
2 Timothy 2:22
If it sounds pleasing at first, that should be a red flag. Be discerning and watchful. Evaluate and test everything. Stop up your ears at the first sign of danger...consider the source. Nothing good can come from a bad motive, even if it looks benign. Don't think you are immune or too wise to be fooled. Subtlety and time are the incubators for the worst kind of horror. WW2 should remind us of that.
Youth is wonderful. Young men and women are full of potential and vigor...but their youth makes them targets. Hitler knew it and so does the ultimate enemy. Don't neglect your youth. Don't abandon them at their most vulnerable time. Don't listen to everything you hear nor allow bad ideas into the ears of those under your care and responsibility. Evil is counting on your openness, your fear of being critical and your inattentiveness. Goodness is counting on your humility, hard work and faith.
Lest we forget.