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Sin or Entertainment?
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How do you decide what type of films and TV shows to watch? Is it ever OK to see an R-rated film? What degree of explicit content is wrong to view? You’ve probably heard these questions and may have asked them yourself. The issue of media for the Christian (TV, films, and movies) is a hot topic. Why? It’s because entertainment is important to us. Honestly, my first reaction is not to be excited about someone who’s ready to tell me all their opinions about what I should/shouldn’t watch. You likely feel the same. However, recently I’ve begun to believe that we often get bogged down in debate over this topic because we get bogged down with the details and miss the entire foundation. I want to look again at that foundation – the heart.

It usually starts out like this: “Don’t watch films rated ____.” “Don’t listen to anything with ____ type of language.” “Don’t spend ____ time viewing TV.” “Don’t watch ____ show.” You might hear these types of statements. You might agree or disagree. So might I. We could argue and debate. But we wouldn’t really get anywhere. And until recently that was the level at which I thought about media. Then I heard a statement regarding media that totally changed my perspective.

“When the melody of the Gospel has gripped your heart, sin loses its entertainment value. When that melody of the Gospel is in your heart, how can you be entertained by something that is holding up and celebrating sin that our Lord had to die for?” *

Asking the Right Questions

Do you realize the magnitude of those words? Suddenly it’s not just about us. It’s more than, “Well, I s’pose maybe that isn’t the best thing for me to watch.” Now it’s about looking to the One who agonized on the Cross because of that sin and asking, “Can I really be entertained by watching something that glorifies the very thing that killed my Savior?”

I hope your answer is a resounding no! I suddenly realized how trite it was to try and debate rules and guidelines. No, the first question isn’t about what standards I should follow, but my heart. Do I love Jesus so much that the very thought of being entertained by the sin that killed Him makes me shudder? Will I shy away from evil because I know it took the life of the One who died for me? Asking yourself these questions puts a whole new light on the topic. In that light, our entertainment choices seem much more significant. Choosing to view something that portrays sin as appealing or justifiable is hard to defend in light of God’s incredible love for us. For me, thinking about this question has inspired me to commit, with David, that “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes" (Psalms 101:3).

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By Danae Rittenour. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

*Harris, Josh. “What Am I Setting Before My Eyes?” November 09, 2003. Talk available to download from http://www.covlife.org

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