Recently we awarded scholarships to 19 college students. We asked applicants to write an essay about how they demonstrate integrity through making a covenant with their eyes. This was one of the best essays we received.
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Our Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 18:9, “If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
These are confronting worlds—especially in a day and age when society is becoming increasingly visual. So much of our information and media is digested visually—on television, in movies, through images on billboards, newspapers, magazines, and perhaps most powerfully through the Internet. It seems there is no escaping the increased sexualization of our society.
As a minister of the gospel, it has become increasingly apparent how important integrity is. One minister having to step down because of a compromise in his/her integrity is one minister too many. I feel the urgency to take action and to demonstrate integrity for the sake of my wife. For the sake of my daughter. For the sake of those who I am training to serve.
My current study at Moore Theological College requires a significant amount of time in front of the computer. This year, the college has moved to place all of our lecture notes online. The responsibility is on the students to obtain a copy of these notes prior to class. Similarly, essays are typed on the computer and submitted online over the college intranet. Also, set readings are made available for download online. Finally, research and access to electronic resources such as journals is accessible via the library website.
All this has resulted in a significant increase in the time on the computer and on the Internet. This increased time online consequently opens up increased temptation to set worthless things before my eyes—especially in regards to Internet pornography.
I am significantly grateful that the college has made Covenant Eyes available to all students. It has benefited me in taking a covenant to set no worthless things before my eyes. I know that my accountability partners will receive reports. I know they will ask me questions. I know that my integrity will be compromised if I fall down in this area.
Of course our computer also gets used for social purposes too. I have recently noticed that unsolicited e-mails have started embedding images of women deceitfully. As a result, I have had to increase the sensitivity of my e-mail spam filter. The installation of Covenant Eyes on my home computer has also benefited me greatly. Know that there is no computer in our home that will not keep me accountable has removed the temptation to knowingly subvert those measures in place that help me keep the covenant of setting no worthless things before my eyes. I know and experience this truth whenever I use another computer (e.g. a friend’s or at my parents’ home) that does not have Covenant Eyes installed on it.
I have also sought to demonstrate integrity in terms of what I watch on television and movies. Often, I find the temptation to compromise my integrity when it is late at night and I am watching television alone. Knowing how unhelpful that can be, along with its alluring power, I have decided not to turn on the television in the first place and to watch it alone. I will go to sleep at the same time as my wife. We have both benefited greatly from a hard disk recorder which has enabled us to watch appropriate television shows when we want to watch them. Advertisements and inappropriate sections can be fast-forwarded.
In terms of my spiritual life, I have tremendously benefited from being part of a group of four other male students with whom I meet every Monday morning. Our intention in forming this group was out of a concern for each others’ holiness. In many of our meetings, we have shared openly with one another (and confessed) our desire to set no worthless things before our eyes. We have shared our strategies, asked questions of each other, and helped support one another in maintaining integrity.
Recently, I have finished reading through Romans. I was particularly challenged by Romans 12:2, where Paul writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” One such area that I long to no longer conform to the pattern of this world, is in the area of what my eyes view and absorb. It is all too easy to unknowingly let my eyes betray my integrity. But yet, I desire to demonstrate integrity in my academic, social, and spiritual life by my covenant with God to set no worthless things before my eyes. This is by spiritual act of worship.