For awhile I really struggled with a particular view in regard to choosing God-honoring media. Do I make my decisions based on whether there is any sin in the movie, book, or song? For example, if there's lying or stealing do I decide that it's a no-go? Philippians 4:8 is a wonderful verse that should guide us in our thoughts, but to apply it as the exclusive rule for our media choices isn't possible. There isn't a story written that doesn't have some character with a moral flaw. There has to be some evil or wrong committed or at least presented for there to be a story. That's life! And without it, there is no plot. There is no story. There are no realistic characters. In fact, there is no way to show true virtue. Without the temptation of evil, goodness isn't really goodness.
So I knew I needed another approach. This approach presented in the last post has helped me immensely in making choices. If there is lying in the story, is it shown to be wrong and are there clear consequences? Does the viewer or reader recognize that lying isn't laughable? That it isn't justifiable? Would we finish the story with the feeling that honesty is honorable and desirable?
Unfortunately, many movies and books have to be tossed aside when held up to these standards. The producers and authors of most media today are not necessarily looking to promote Godly, even moral, values. In fact, often, you will find quite the opposite.
Recently, the movie Fireproof showed an excellent example of the 3rd test...is the sin shown in such a way that it is explicit, graphic above necessity, even exciting in a wrong way to the viewer? The husband in the movie is struggling with an addiction to pornography. The producers of this movie showed very clearly that this was what he was doing regularly on his computer. They showed how difficult this struggle was. They showed the devestating effects it was having on his marriage. But they never showed actual pornography. In a very God-honoring way they clearly showed the sin without being explicit to the viewer.
So...if a movie I'm about to view has adultery or fornication as so many do today I must ask myself. Is this sin condemned? Is this sin shown to have clear consequences? If it passes those two tests, it would be a very rare movie. The third test would also need to be assessed. Do they show the sin in such a way that it becomes graphic or explicit, causing the viewer to see more than necessary?
I understand there will still be subjectivity involved even when using these guidelines, but I truly believe if we would all strive to be excellent in what is good and innocent in what is evil (Romans 16:19) we would come to some more similar conclusions.
I am trying to be objective and factual in this post, but I'm also feeling grieved and saddened. Should we as followers of Christ be allowing our children to see movies that go entirely against the principles that we are teaching our children? We take our girls to purity conferences and teach about purity at camp classes and church classes and yet our children are watching movies that present an entirely different picture. Take for instance, a newer movie, Valentine's Day. This movie, popular among teen girls, shows (without actually showing) numerous unmarried couples sleeping together, even has a gay couple in it, and basically gives the idea that sex is what people do when they like each other. How contrary is this to God's Word? We are fools to think we can tell our girls one thing and yet allow them to be entertained over and over by the world's values. (I haven't actually seen this movie so if I'm totally wrong, please correct me. But I've read reviews on Kids in Mind and Plugged In).
I'm hoping that we can challenge one another in our choices. I believe we need to be guarding our hearts and honoring God. If you've actually managed to read this far...wow. Thanks for considering. :) I'm probably going to write one more post to consider one other aspect. Please feel free to agree/disagree and encourage us all to be Christ-like in our entertainment choices.