Call me naive, but I thought watching the Super Bowl game was a family affair. I never would have guessed that I’d actually have to stand guard, ready to shield my kids’ eyes from the filth we apparently now call commercials. And when the entertainment chosen to represent one of America’s favorite pastimes during the halftime show seductively slid her finger down her tongue and across her lower lip while dancing around in dominatrix garb, my heart broke as my my nine year-old daughter was left to believe that such conduct is not only socially acceptable but highly-esteemed in our society.
Is this really who we’ve become as a nation?
Earlier that morning, my pastor gave a sermon on how the cost of sin is not only generational it’s exponential. While children often adopt their parents’ patterns of sinning through learning by example, they don’t necessarily institute their parents’ boundaries; thus why each generation tends to be more morally corrupt than the last. He also showed how the sins we commit have the potential to effect our children even before they are born. My pastor made his points using stories from the Bible; however, I didn’t realize just how relevant his message would prove to be come game time.
Looking back over the years, using the Super Bowl as a reference point, I can see how this biblical truth has played out in my life. When I was a young adult—single, watching the Super Bowl with friends, engaging in debauchery that lead to most of us calling in sick for work the next day—I was part of the force working against our country’s moral fiber in my own small way. And as a young mother busy entertaining Super Bowl party guests, my sensitivities were dulled to the increase in provocative messaging surrounding the game because of my own over indulgence of libations that day. It wasn’t until I was watching the game with my children, free from distraction, looking at it from their perspective that I recognized my contributions to our country’s moral decline (both active and passive) and how my children would be impacted.
Whether at a Super Bowl party or anywhere else in our lives, we can’t play both sides of the moral equation without consequence. We can’t behave one way in front of our children and another when they are not around, expecting that the hypocrisy illustrated in our actions, what we watch, and where we spend our money won’t catch up with us somewhere down the road. It does—if not within the family unit, then within society at large. And if we don’t recognize our mistakes and pivot toward what is true and what is right, we may find some day that the commercials and entertainment surrounding this year’s Super Bowl game are tame in comparison to what lies ahead.
Yes, it would be easy to blame the advertisers and point fingers at the entertainers for the spectacle we saw on TV Sunday. It might even feel good to take out our frustrations on them. But before we do, maybe we should take a good hard look at ourselves. After all, they are only appealing to their audience.