Beit Gamaliel

The House of Gamaliel: The confluence of knowledge and faith.


A Covenant with My Eyes

Jesus taught us that if anyone were to cause a child to stumble, that a 1-ton stone should be tied around that person’s neck and the individual be thrown into the sea. What does it take…

“Be careful little eyes what you see.” I remember singing that refrain in church when I was a child. “Because the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.”

I was probably around 11 years old when my grandma was coming to visit. She would fly out from Colorado to Dulles airport where we would pick her up and make the trek back to Richmond. I hated the drive, but we made it enough that I remember various landmarks, geographical formations, road signs, and even some mile markers. On this particular occasion, grandma’s plane was late. I am a firm believer that every child has a thousand ‘wiggles’ for every “Sit Still!” Sitting in the airport terminal was miserably painful. I noticed a scrapping man in his twenties enter the terminal with a tight t-shirt and visible muscles. He donned a pair of jeans, a jacket and carried a duffle bag. I watched him because I thought that he might be a soldier. Suddenly, he reached back taking the hand of another young blond man, pulled him close and kissed him. I was horrified. It was truly the queerest thing I had ever seen. It was so odd and out of place I felt dirty and violated. Ironically, at 11 years old, homosexuality was nothing that we had ever discussed in our very religious home.

My middle school children arrived home today from the religious school they attend. Being the month of February, the students are watching videos each lunch period celebrating and featuring a facet of black history. Apparently the video started with some typically urban music, and typical historical scenes of demonstrations from the 1960’s. The next scene showed picketers protesting the war with signs that clearly spelled “F*** War!” Apparently at this point, a teacher began to move toward the projector to stop the video, but alas, not before the final image of two men kissing projected onto the monstrous screen in the cafeteria.

Even thought Dulles airport has gone through significant remodeling in the past thirty-five years, I can recount to the minutest detail, the airport terminal and the ensuing images which I witnessed on that fateful day. Today, my children were afforded that same opportunity. They have seen an image that is now indelibly etched into their memories, an image of an act that is denounced by the scripture that we hold sacred.

Jesus taught us that if anyone were to cause a child to stumble, that a 1-ton stone should be tied around that person’s neck and the individual be thrown into the sea. What does it take to cause a child to stumble? Are we so arrogant to think that Jesus simply did not really mean what He said? Or have we just convinced ourselves that Jesus doesn’t really care?

We can learn a valuable lesson from King David: “I will not allow before my eyes any shameful thing. I hate those who act crookedly; what they do does not attract me. Deviousness will depart from me; I will not tolerate evil. 5 If someone slanders another in secret, I will cut him off. Haughty eyes and proud hearts I cannot abide.” (Psalm 103:3-5) But even more than putting images before our eyes, Rabbi Shaul builds the wall a little bit higher in his letter to the righteous in Ephesus, “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” And further in the passage, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” It would appear that the Holy text is clear. We should not look, speak of, nor partake in sin. (Compare this with Genesis 2 where Eve looked upon the forbidden fruit, spoke of it to the serpent, and then partook.)

May we honor our Heavenly Father by turning our eyes from those things that bring no glory to Him. And likewise, may we be ever mindful of the children in our homes, our schools, and our lives and protect their minds and hearts from the sinfulness of a fallen world. Shalom.


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