Sacrificing Children To Idols: It’s Not Just an Old Testament Thing

I threw a fit last Friday morning.  I pitched a hissy, threw a conniption – whatever you want to call it – I did it.  I’m about to tell you the honest truth and, while I’m not proud of it, I think I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t share my messy moments with you.  Because God showed up – even in my anger.

So, here it goes….

I was in my bedroom doing my Bible study when my son called up to me that it was his turn to use the computer and his sister wouldn’t get off.  I yelled downstairs to my daughter that it was her brother’s turn to use the computer, and after several requests for her to get off, she would not.  With each going-back-and-forth, I felt myself bubbling up inside until a voice inside of me said, “Enough!”  My time with God interrupted, I went downstairs only to find my little people worshipping an idol.  In our case, it was the laptop.  And I was angry.

I had a Moses coming down from the mountain moment. (Exodus chapter 32)

I ripped the power cord out and placed the laptop on the floor.  There it sat in the middle of the room, that slim black rectangle with a screen, still playing music from a game.  My children looked at me, eyes wide open and mouths gaping.  “Is this your god?”, I asked.  “Are you bowing down to this? Is this more important than how you treat each other?  Is it more important than our family or God?” I took a few seconds to gather myself.  I told them how I felt the computer had become an idol to them; how it had slowly, yet steadily become more important to them than almost anything else.  I pointed out how they would rush through school work, meals, and chores just so they could be first to sit in front of it.  How they ignored timers and requests to quit playing on it, and that it caused more arguments than I cared to count.

My husband and I knew what we needed to do – we had to get rid of the idol.

But there was more to it than just idol worship.  I knew that I had to take responsibility for allowing the computer to become an idol.  For me, it had just become easier to let them play on the computer or other devices so I could get a few more things done.  I found myself rationalizing that they probably needed to unwind a little after having been at school all day.  But I was wrong.

I’m not saying screen time is a bad thing, but I’ve personally struggled with limiting my usage of technology.  When I make an idol out of something, God calls it prostitution.  And when I allow my children to fall into idol worship, He calls it child sacrifice.

And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.

Ezekiel 16:20-21

I gave my children over to an idol.  Not in the literal sense like the Israelites, but still, in a very real, harmful, hurtful way.

I didn’t know what I was doing until my eyes were opened, thanks be to God!  But isn’t that how it happens?  Slowly, subtly?

Only by the precious blood of Jesus have I been forgiven of this heinous sin.  And I have repentedMy whole family has.  We’ve turned from our ways and sought our merciful God again.

This past week has been wonderful!  The kids have had no screen time after school and in the evenings, other than watching a show together as a family.  I have decreased my personal screen time as well.  Both of my children have commented several times this week about how peaceful our home has been.  Yes, peaceful, but not quiet.  There have been wrestling matches, books read, and play-food meals prepared.  Toys and markers are once again strewn about.  Children are running through the house dodging Nerf bullets and I am loving every minute of it.

Have you been struggling with idolatry with your children?  How are you handling it?  I would love to hear your story – this is a safe place to share 🙂



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  1. Crystal says:

    Kelly, I love this post and it’s true, we all battle idols. John Calvin said our hearts are idol factories. I see it played out daily in my life and in our family! Thank you for this reminder and to call it what it is!

  2. Amanda says:

    We have the same struggle in our home, and screen-free weeks are wonderful! But the lure to return us strong, and we end up cycling, like in Judges. I never thought about it in this way, as idolatry, but it is. Thanks for the honesty and openness.

    • Kelly Switala says:

      Amanda, you’re absolutely right – the lure to return is very strong. We’ve cycled through this as well and, each time, I feel like we’re getting better at recognizing it and putting an end to it. I appreciate you sharing your struggle with me as well – prayers that you will stand firm!

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