Accountable for what we watch
SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Television, video games, movies and the Internet vie for our emotions. Hollywood and Madison Avenue know they can influence us to purchase their products if they can move us to laughter, sorrow, fear, anger, disgust or desire. Thus, our screens are filled with sex, gore, violence and profanity — anything to evoke emotion.
Today it’s impossible to watch a sporting event or even surf the channels without being accosted by Hollywood’s images and slogans. Decency standards are being eroded on television, in large part, because of greed and consumerism.
Despite television’s reckless disregard for morality, Christians continue to watch shows that are less than edifying. In other words, on Sunday they hear God’s Word preached in church. Monday through Saturday, they watch the enemy’s handiwork from their living room.
From magazines at the checkout counter to billboards on the freeway, Hollywood and Madison Avenue continue their onslaught. For believers who are the “light of the world,” fully isolating ourselves from the messages of the world isn’t a viable option. But it pleases the Lord when we take steps to guard our heart and strengthen our faith.
Here are four simple precautions to consider if television viewing is an issue in your life:
1. Pledge not to watch television for a week.
2. Journal everything you watch in a given week and be accountable to a family member or friend.
3. Record television shows and fast-forward through commercials.
4. Avoid watching television by yourself.
Some believers contend what they watch is a private matter; others suggest television viewing has no effect on their spiritual life. Most, however, underestimate the power of television to influence the human mind and the importance of guarding their hearts from evil.
Ephesians 5:8-17 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. ... Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (NIV).
E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.