How to View Media in a God Honoring Way
I remember having a movie night with a childhood friend. We were eating snacks and talking, and everything was awesome. That is, until I realized the superhero movie we were watching was so full of swear words that I couldn’t make it past the first fifteen minutes.
As the years go by and I continue to grow in my faith, I can see the way media affects my life and the lives of those around me. Season two of the show 13 Reasons Why was recently released on Netflix, and reading this incredible post from blogger Beauty Beyond Bones has inspired me to also discuss the dangers of media.
13 Reasons Why focuses on a teen girl who committed suicide, and the blame she places on those around her through a series of tapes. I’ve never seen this show before, and I do not plan to. It graphically portrays suicide, bullying, rape, and other issues in a way that is often too traumatizing for teens and adults to process.
Media is powerful, and can either hinder our faith or build it up. Read on for more on the dangers of media and ways to view media in a wise and God-honoring way.
When Media Becomes a Compromise
It’s borderline impossible to watch a movie without some degree of swearing, violence, or sexuality in it. Even kids movies contain these things! However, sometimes we are tempted to watch something that is beyond the threshold of what we know is appropriate.
During that movie night with my friend, I could have chosen to keep watching the superhero movie. However, this would be compromising my values because I knew it wasn’t right. There was a ton of violence and crude swearing–both of which I am sensitive to.
As Christians, compromising media is thrown at our faces so much that all of us are tempted at times. And that’s okay, the Lord doesn’t expect perfection from us. God does, however, expect us to be on guard over what we view on our TVs, phones, and computers.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
Although one bad movie or book might not seem like a big deal, it opens the door for compromise. We must prayerfully assess all that we watch, read, and listen to in order to avoid compromise.
The Need for Discernment
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 that what we put into our hearts eventually manifests itself in our lives. That is why we must be careful of the media we view. When we watch shows like 13 Reasons Why, we are thrown into the dark world of depression and suicide. And if you’re someone who is struggling with these issues, this can cause great harm.
When we view content on social media, we are influenced by the crude and sometimes borderline pornographic content on these sites. Even worse, sometimes we become desensitized to these things and our values no longer hold true to us anymore.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
There is no way we can avoid everything “wrong” in media. We would have to avoid it completely, which is legalistic and missing the point of what God wants for us.
There are movies and books that contain some swearing or violence, however, they have excellent messages. One movie I can think of in particular is The Blind Side, which happens to have a strong faith message rooted in the story.
We must study God’s Word, which is our source of truth. The Holy Spirit guides us so we can avoid media that might harm us instead of building up our faith.
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Media in Focus
The truth of God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit helps us avoid harmful shows, movies, and websites. And of course, we should always be on guard against sinful media.
But there’s something we must focus on that can be easily forgotten in our fight against compromise. We need to set our eyes on good things that draw us closer to Jesus and the message of the Gospel.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
When we fill our lives with truthful, lovely, and pure things, it drowns out the evil in this world. There are so many movies and books with good messages and values. And there are Christian podcasts, social media accounts, and websites to entertain and inform us. With all this free media at our fingertips, it’s easy to find wholesome things to view.
Media has powerful influence to either distract us from Jesus, or to encourage our pursuit of Him. Seeking the Lord and pursuing honorable sources of media and entertainment is the key to a balanced life.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
(Photography by Becca Tapert and Annie Spratt)
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