Some of the shows that intrigue me most on television these days are filled with images of sin. Some of them have gotten so raw that I stopped watching because of what they make me feel. A friend of mine challenged me not to stop watching but rather use what I see in my teaching of the Word of God. I’ve taken that advice to heart and decided to study a bit.
You see, I grew up watching and LOVING cartoons — Popeye, Tom & Jerry, The Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny (my personal favorite!), Elmer Fudd, etc. When we moved to Ghana I even took DVDs of my favorites with me so I’d have something light to watch on heart heavy days. I made the comment to my children that the cartoons of their day were just not as good and wholesome as the cartoons of my day. So, a couple of Saturdays ago I was watching the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner movie and decided to pay attention to what I saw – Ahem … let’s just say I was surprised to note: greed, covetousness, disobedience, laziness, cheating, deception, anger, rage — and then I stopped listing because I knew without a doubt these modern writers had to have put those things in there after I had already grown up! Surely those things were not in there when I was a kid!
I decided to do the same thing for the most popular shows of today. So I sat down the other evening and watched – but instead of merely watching I took note of every sin that was blatantly highlighted. I’m sure I missed plenty, because I got tired of writing them down – but here’s what I saw: Idolatry, greed, covetousness, love of money, gluttony, complaining, tempting God, high-mindedness, disobedience, cussing, careless use of God’s name, laziness, filthy talk, dishonoring parents, murder, anger, hate, enmity, rage, brawling, rioting, unforgiving, wrath, spitefulness, stealing, dishonesty, lying, slandering, extortion, fornication, adultery and MORE!! I decided they should call some of these shows How Not To Live As A Christ Follower. The list was longer than my cartoon list for sure — but my conclusion is that a worldview that espouses the satisfaction of our own desires has always been the way of media.
I’m not trying to make you turn the television off – and I am certainly not calling watching television a sin. I enjoy a good television show after a stressful day, it is one of my favorite escapes. But don’t fool yourself into believing that you can watch sin filled images (or listen to sin filled messages) all of the time and not be affected by it in any way. Be careful not to be fooled into believing that what you see on that screen is merely entertainment. Be careful about the last image you see on that screen; do you really want that to be the last thing that enters your mind before your head hits the pillow? The world’s job is to lull you into a false sense of what sin is and to convince that you should take advantage of the grace extended to you as a follower of Christ – but the word says different (Romans 6:1, 2).
In 1 John we are admonished not to love the world; the world’s ways; the world’s things because we squeeze out the Father when we do so. When we begin to schedule our lives around these images that have nothing to do with our Father or His ways – I think that means that we are coming to ‘love’ these images. Just my opinion. Truth is that once an image is on television or in a movie, we begin to believe falsely that the image is mere entertainment. Be careful, my brothers and sisters. These images are not our reality and they are not our truth. God did not send His son to die for us and free us from the bondage of sin so that we could enslave ourselves once again to our enemy, Satan. Ensure that you are filling your mind with the Word of God and with the Truths of God and take care to call the sin you see what it is!
Go ahead — watch your favorite shows, but let it be entertainment and not what fills you up. I encourage you today to make a covenant to fill your eyes, your mind and your ears with things that are genuine, honorable, upright, trustworthy, crucial, and compassionate. Make the choice! It will change your lifeview – it will make you walk lighter – it will help you to be joy! Be careful – our enemy is doing a great job; lets not make it easier for him…
1 John 2: 15 – 16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.