I love movies. There’s nothing like checking out of this world for a few hours of pure entertainment. Diverting the mind and momentarily forgetting about all that consumes my thoughts. It used to be our favorite date night: dinner and a movie. Then the Lord started His onion peeling thing, beginning at the surface and going deeper, desiring purity and holiness more widespread in my life. As He increased my sensitivity to the things I was exposing myself to in the name of entertainment, He used Ephesians 5:3-4 and 8-12 to expose the depth of holiness He desires.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting. 8 For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret(emphasis mine).
Not only are we instructed to avoid the behaviors named here. We should not even let them be named among us! This would include what is said by those we hang around, what we read, what we watch on television, the movies we see, and the like. If the things we are reading or watching or hearing from the people we’re around include any kind of fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, or coarse jesting, including and especially using the Lord’s name in vain, we are not to even let it be named among us.
That’s a tough standard reached only through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us.
I realize this eliminates most television shows and movies. But is offending Him in the name of entertainment and escape acceptable? Or because other believers are perfectly comfortable doing it? My sister’s pastor says:
“If Jesus died on the cross for it, we shouldn’t be entertained by it.”
We’re so immersed in a moral-less culture that we risk becoming numb to the things that offend God. Tolerant. Not just politically but in our private lives, to the point that content that once earned an R rating is now piped into our homes on prime time television. We may not let our children watch, so we go behind closed doors. What message does that send? We are to hate what God hates, whether we’re in our living rooms in front of our kids, in our bedrooms privately watching television or movies, or at the theater.
Psalm 97:10 instructs us, “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” The Hebrew word for evil is ra’. In the Hebrew, we are being told to hate anything that in general, of persons, thoughts, deeds and actions is bad, disagreeable, malignant, unpleasant; giving pain, unhappiness, misery; displeasing; unhappy; hurtful, unkind, vicious in disposition; or ethically wicked (Strong’s H7451 www.blueletterbible.com). That rules out a lot!
At first, following the conviction of the Holy Spirit was really hard. Movies we were DYING to see got the ax when the reviews came out. But you know what? Other than the dying to self – the crucifying of my flesh in the moment I don’t let myself have what my flesh wants – I have lost nothing and only gained. The joy of living without regret is so worth it!
God keeps going deeper. Purifying more. Things I once didn’t even notice are on the chopping block. Sometimes I think it may get to the point where I’ll never again turn on the TV or see a movie!
How do we know what’s safe to watch? How do we avoid that sickening feeling of regret when we see something in “ignorance”? What are some of the things your family does for entertainment that don’t involve the television at all? I’d love to hear from you. Please post a comment below.
Stay tuned Thursday for “Popcorn & Candy,” a corny little acronym I came up with for our women’s ministry PJ party and movie night. I pray it helps all of us become more wholly His in our entertainment choices.