ONE DAY YOU’RE SCROLLING through Instagram and you see a trailer for a new movie. It looks so good and some of your favorite actors star in it. You have to see this movie!
You do notice it has a PG-13 or maybe even R rating, but maybe it’s not that bad, right? Soon your friends are talking about it. You spend tons of time on YouTube watching cast interviews, behind the scenes footage, and as many trailers as you can find. Finally the movie is out!
Then you watch it and it’s terrible! It seems every couple seconds they are saying words that you would never say. There is more than one questionable scene. The movie is promoting the idea that we can do whatever feels right rather than what is truly right. You really already knew that some of that stuff would be in it, but you watched it anyway. You feel a little guilty. Should you never watch it again? Should you have never watched it in the first place?
Today, we have access to practically any movie or TV show out there. Between Netflix, Hulu, Google play, and many, many others, the possibilities are endless. We are one click away, and maybe a couple bucks, from whatever we want whenever we want it. Now, more than ever, Christians need to set personal boundaries for what they watch. There are so many human opinions on what we should and shouldn’t do and entertainment choices can get real confusing real fast. So I want to go straight to the Bible and see what God has to say about this touchy topic.
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Psalms 101:3-4).
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Wow! Those verses challenge my heart! That makes me ask what should I be watching or not watching?
This is the hard part. I think when it comes to it, this verse clears it up best.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Being a Christian is about being in a relationship with Jesus. Jesus knows if there is something that will tempt us and draw us easily into sin. There are some things that are going to be more of a pitfall to some than others.
I heard a teen guy say that he would try his hardest to not watch anything that had any immodest dressing in it. Some people don’t agree with lots of violence or sci-fi action.
Now we must always remember that there are certain clear cut things in scripture, but I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that says “thou shall not watch a movie with any more than 10 curse words.” So we need to pray and ask God what is best for us.
I do think that if we put “ungodly” things in our mind enough, we will become desensitized to evil.
We need to be careful and prayerfully consider what we watch. We need to remember that verse ends with “fear and trembling.” We must get serious about what we are feeding our hearts and minds through screens and set boundaries with fear and trembling. Some people’s boundaries might look different than others. That’s not the point. The point is that you and I need to be concerned about our own salvation and we need to do what God wants for each of us as individuals.
I get it. It is so hard to know what you should and shouldn’t watch. It’s easy to say, well, what will this really hurt if I just watch it once?
But isn’t that how Satan works? Doesn’t he want us to accept small, little, and seemingly harmless things? Doesn’t he, the master of lies, tell us that just once won’t hurt? Somehow once turns into twice and then it keeps going and you are watching junk that is filling your mind with nothing Godly or good. We must stand up and be willing to say, “No! I will not watch that!” or “No! I will not support that TV show!” or “No! I will not own that movie!”
The most important thing is to be completely open to what God wants. If He speaks to me about a show or movie, I am going to do my best to not watch it anymore.
Maybe this idea seems out of date and old fashioned. The truth is, it’s not! Guarding our hearts is straight out of God’s word.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
The Bible also tells us that as Christians, we aren’t supposed to live like the world does.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
I believe that “be not conformed to this world” includes entertainment. The verse before this talks about presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. That might just mean that we change what we watch. I challenge you to examine your Netflix history. Looks at your blue-ray collection. Are there some things that need to go away?
The most amazing thing about the God we serve is that He offers forgiveness and if we have messed up, He is ready and waiting to forgive you! Are there some things that you need to ask God forgiveness for? Stop right now and ask him to forgive you and then change. If it means throwing away a DVD, do it! If it means deleting Netflix, do it! No movie or TV show is worth missing heaven for. This applies to me just as much as anyone else. Satan is so crafty and deceptive. He will use any little thing to drag us to hell. Even if it’s a movie. He hates us. Thankfully, there is a God in heaven who loves us so, so much! He wants us in heaven and He is on our side. He will help us if we ask Him. Let’s keep close to Jesus and stay open and willing to what He wants us to do, in every part of our lives.