My daughters wanted to watch Soul Surfer. A couple days ago, while we were at their grandparents, Jamie and I gave the “go ahead” and they ran over to the television to put the DVD into the player.
My son stayed by my side and looked down at the kitchen tile. “Aren’t you going to watch the movie with your sisters, Bud?”
Here’s what Aidan said to me: “A friend told me that there were a lot of girls wearing bikinis in that movie, and I don’t want to have to keep turning my eyes away. Is it ok if I don’t watch it, Dad?”
It’s difficult to describe how I felt in that moment. I’ve prayed for Aidan for eight years that he would become a man of conviction. I’ve especially prayed for his heart in this area of sexual purity. I’m painfully aware of how many men struggle and fail in this soul-diminishing category today. My son’s statement gave me hope that God was answering my prayers.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way pronouncing judgment on the movie Soul Surfer. I haven’t seen the movie, but from what I’ve heard it seems to make several good statements. My point isn’t to debate whether my son’s opinion of the movie is right or wrong—my point is that seeing convictions in our sons’ hearts is a beautiful thing.
I thought of Romans 14:5 when Aidan asked me Is it ok if I don’t watch it, Dad? Paul writes, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” He is teaching us in that verse that God directs us through our convictions and conscience. Then, later in the passage, he warns us about pushing someone to do something that would violate the other person’s conscience. He writes, “Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble…” (Romans 14:20a).
This verse applies to us as dads—it isn’t for us to make our sons stumble. I knelt down and looked Aidan in the eyes and said, “Buddy, I cannot tell you how proud I am of you for listening to God on this. If He’s put it on your heart not to watch that movie, then you shouldn’t watch it.”
We found another movie that Aidan wanted to watch and he watched it on my computer while his sisters watched Soul Surfer in the other room.
My son and I are entering new territory. As his dad, I want to get to know his convictions and then support him in them. There sure may be times when I need to challenge them with truth, making sure he has a full understanding of the issue, but in the end, I need to support his convictions.
Question: Dads, has your son expressed convictions? Tell us about a time when you admired your son for a decision he made.