By Mark Mayberry
Bobby Knight, long-time Indiana basketball coach, is known for speaking his mind. According to a recent report in the Houston Chronicle, if Knight were coaching in the pros, the first thing he would do would be to fire the cheerleaders. Referring to them as “bump-and-grind girls,” he said they are an unnecessary and inconsistent distraction: “It’s like we’re selling a picture of a naked gal on the cover of the Methodist hymnal.”
Jesus once said, “For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8). Bobby Knight, for all the reckless excess that he occasionally displays in other areas — throwing chairs on the basketball court and allegedly choking players in practice — is dead on the mark in his aforementioned comments. In this regard, Coach Knight is more discerning than some members of the Lord’s church who allow and/or encourage their daughters to become cheerleaders. In today’s world, sex is the name of the game. The only difference between professional cheerleaders and their younger counterparts is degree. In both cases, flesh is on display. Whether we are talking about junior high, high school, college, or professional cheerleading, the clothing is typically scanty, the dancing provocative, and the bodily movements undeniably sensual and suggestive. Professional cheerleaders are held forth as the ideal for which younger girls are to strive.
The gospel of Christ, with its exalted demand for holiness and purity, stands in sharp contrast with such displays of lascivious lewdness. The apostle Paul said, “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness” (1 Tim. 2:8-10). In like manner, the apostle Peter encouraged Christian women to be chaste and respectful in their behavior and dress (1 Pet. 3:1-4).
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness (1 Tim. 2:8-10, NASU).
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Pet. 3:1-4, NASU).
Oh, that contemporary Christians would have the wisdom to cultivate within the hearts of their daughters the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God! Instead, both parents and children bow before the goddess of popularity. Through immaturity and insecurity, they compromise their convictions, conform to a corrupt culture, and then delude themselves into thinking that God approves of their sinful decisions. Have we forgotten that friendship with the world makes us the enemy of God (Jas. 4:1-5)?
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us? (Jas. 4:1-5. NASU).
Many Christian parents are in this very situation, having foolishly allowed their children to become involved in cheerleading and other inappropriate activities. They permit immodest dress, lascivious dancing, mixed swimming, indecent and sexually explicit literature, movies, and music. Brethren, such carnality is not befitting to those who are saints (Eph. 5:3-6).
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (Eph. 5:3-6, NASU).
What should be done if we find ourselves (or our families) in such a situation? Sadly, when error is exposed, many get mad at the messenger. Faithful gospel preachers have often suffered grief at the hands of such stubborn and rebellious brethren. However, such a defiant response to the truth is displeasing to God, and of no benefit to the offenders. Instead, if we have allowed sin to invade our homes, we should act like men, and assume our God-given responsibility as head of our household. Let us take charge of our families. Real men will say “No” to the foolish immaturity of their sons and daughters. Occasionally, they may even be forced to overrule the wishes of their wives. Sadly, some moms push their daughters to become cheerleaders, prom queens, etc., so as to live, vicariously, through the accomplishment of their children. Godliness will not allow such folly.
James sets forth the divine pattern of reconciliation for the erring child of God: Quit trying to please men, and start trying to please God. Resist the devil, and submit to God. The double-minded, inconsistent man, if he wishes to draw near unto God, must cleanse his hands and purify his heart. Sinful laughter must give way to godly sorrow. Only through genuine, humble repentance can such a wayward disciple be restored to divine favor (Jas. 4:6-10).
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you (Jas. 4:6-10, NASU).
Source: Mickey Herskowitz, “Latest Knightmare Tests Behavorial Line,” Houston Chronicle (April 15, 2000), B1.
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