Sometime in the past year, Mr. Poe and I heard a lesson by our friend Mr. Ellis titled "Glorifying God in Gray Areas." In essence, the lesson pointed out that if you try to look in the Bible for a specific verse about getting a tattoo, what to look at on the internet, etc., you won't find one; however, that doesn't mean that the Bible is out-dated or non-applicable to us. Based on study of the basic New Testament principles and guidelines presented in the Bible, any specific 'modern-day' question we have can be answered. Using this concept, today we will look at the side note from last weeks post about current media.
Mr. Poe and I have tried to be even more diligent recently about screening the music we listen to, the articles and books we read, and the movies and TV show that we watch. In order to do that, we look at reviews of movies, shows, books, and articles and read lyrics to determine which movies, songs, etc. have bad language, inappropriate themes/scenes, or any other trash in them. At this point you may be thinking that we're big weirdos (which is ok with me), but before you totally blow this post off, let's look at two Biblical reasons that influenced our decision in this matter:
1: These influences can lead directly to sin.
Jas 1:14-16 says, "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.*" Inappropriate language and themes in media feed on our desire to be like the stars and other worldly people, to be popular or adventurous or loved, etc. in the way that they are. Like James says, dwelling on these desires leads to us physically committing the sin we see/hear. But it's more than that...it's our thoughts as well. Suppose you're watching an inappropriate movie or music video, which means you've got inappropriate thoughts in your head. Matt 5:28 tells us that "...whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
While James provides part of the solution in 4:7-8, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded." In his letters to Timothy, Paul tells him to "...flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness," (1 Tim 6:11) and "Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Tim 2:22) We must resist the devil and flee from lusts/temptations! And the most effective way to do that is to get rid of negative/worldly influences in our lives. As Jesus said in Matt 5:29-30, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast if from you...and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off and cast it from you."
2: You can't hate it if you accept it.
If you think that you aren't tempted to use bad language or to lust after a woman/man by popular media, you may need to think again (see * above). But if you're fully convinced that you wouldn't sin in these ways by watching a movie or listening to a song, consider how this media affects your attitude toward the subject of the movie or song. Do you find bad language acceptable for other people to use? Do you find promiscuous acts okay for other people to perform? Now consider the Biblical attitude toward sin and evil:
"Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,' Says the LORD." (Zech 8:17)
"These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren." (Prov. 6:16-19)
"For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one's garment with violence..." (Mal 2:16)
If God hates it, and we are striving to be like Him, we should hate it too. But it is very hard to hate something if you don't think it's wrong. We should definitely consider how today's media can skew how we view sin; we should also consider that our acceptance of it and the sin it portrays can be a stumbling block to others...
Any way you look at it, "Evil company [or influence] corrupts good habits." (1 Cor 15:33) I've heard people say that if you wouldn't listen to/watch/etc. something with your grandmother, than you probably shouldn't be listening to/watching/etc. it...but that all depends on who your grandmother is. Instead, next time you listen to a song or watch a movie, pay attention to the content and ask yourself if you would still be listening to or watching it if Jesus was in the room with you. If the answer is no, then you should probably turn it off.