After her infamous MTV Video Music Awards performance last week, I would love to get five minutes of time to speak to Miley Cyrus so I can tell her: “We get it Miley. We know you are doing everything possible to distance yourself from the wholesome Disney Image you once had as Hannah Montana. But you have made your point. Can you please now start focusing on singing and music instead of acting like a wannabe porn star?”
Truly, Cyrus is attempting to merge graphic sexual acts with pop music in an attempt to take her lyrics to the next level of experience—thus taking it from pop to (almost) porn.
I agree with my wife, who told me that something demonic was imparted from Cyrus during her performance to the millions of viewers and children. In spite of the fact that many—if not most people—have denounced or distanced themselves from her performance, it still lowered the standards allowed on TV and contributed to the further erosion of the so-called pop music culture.
My greatest concern is not for the adult viewers but for the millions of young girls who want to emulate Cyrus since her days as the Disney star of Hannah Montana. I would not be surprised if at least half of the parents who allowed their child to view this performance are ignorant of what Cyrus did.
As parents we need to constantly be aware of what our children are viewing and gauge the level of discernment they have. We need to use these opportunities to teach our children the difference between right and wrong so their level of discernment gets elevated. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 8:13 “the fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” When folks like Cyrus behave like this, it shows they lack the fear of the Lord.
Furthermore, even if a person thought Cyrus’ performance was inappropriate, standards were still lowered if they thought the other inappropriate performances were now OK in comparison to the young pop star.
The following are some of the ways to gauge your child’s level of spiritual discernment (if they viewed this or other similar inappropriate performances):
1. If your child thought it was funny but was not repulsed by it. Young children may not have understood the implications of her performance and thought it was funny (or weird) and may ask parents questions about it. But Christian teenagers who have discernment should have been repulsed by her performance (and not found it funny) because “the fear the Lord is to hate evil.” Our children need to learn to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates.
2. If your child thought there was nothing wrong with the performance. If you question your child and she thought there was nothing wrong with the performance because it was only entertainment—or that we don’t understand the young generation—then you know you have a major problem with your child and she is on the path to falling away from her faith.
3. If your child continues to be a fan of Cyrus. Any child that wants to purchase her latest album, sings the lyrics of her songs or continues to follow her in spite of her path into the abyss shows that performances of that genre are appealing, thus showing that the child’s heart is not right before God.
4. If your child thought Cyrus’ performance was bad but the other inappropriate performances were OK. There were several inappropriate performances, not just Cyrus’. You know your child is heading in a bad direction if she thinks only Cyrus’ performance was inappropriate.
5. If your young daughter starts acting, speaking and dressing in a more sexual manner.
6. If your child hangs out with other kids who emulate MTV music stars. Even if your child tells you she is doing fine with God, if her closest friends follow performers like Cyrus, then you know there is a huge danger of bad company negatively affecting your child’s values.
7. If your child begins to lose interest in personal prayer, Bible-reading and attending church. If your child stops reading the Bible, praying and starts exhibiting a bad attitude when it comes to family prayer and church attendance, then you better dig down deep and find out what her values and priorities really are! Don’t wait until she gets older and fully back slides. Get your head out of the sand and have a nice, cordial, face-to-face chat with her or get another young person with mutual respect to talk to her ASAP. This initial talk is only the beginning of a long, painful journey that has to be coupled with much prayer and fasting, with the objective of winning your child’s heart back to God!
The only totally acceptable response for a Christian teenager watching Cyrus’ performance would have been to turn away from watching the performance or to shut the TV off altogether. Job 1:2 describes the fear of the Lord as a person who turns away from evil. I have found that in my own life, the more intimate I am with the Lord, the less I can sit down and watch movies and performances with graphic sexual and other inappropriate content. The less desensitized a person is to the Holy Spirit, the more they live carelessly in regards to gratifying the desires of the flesh and mind.
Parents are the main ones responsible for instructing their children in the fear of the Lord (see Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and Genesis 18:19) and we need to use this unfortunate performance as a teaching moment for our children so they grow in discernment and so they will never adopt the cultural mores which call “good evil and evil good” (Isaiah5:20).