What Should I Watch?
Being “unaffected” by such programming actually displays that the corruptions they’ve already suffered are so deeply entrenched that their souls are not grieved nor are their spirits shamed by the sins they are watching.
Most believers have to make decisions every day concerning what they will permit themselves to watch either on TV or in movies. Some deal with the matter by eliminating the TV and the theater altogether — removing the temptations. For those who possess a TV, the question they answer each time they turn it on is “What is appropriate for me to watch?” The naive believer exercises no restraint and they’ll watch whatever they want (or whatever is popular). There are some many popular series on TV that are absolutely corrupt and defiling to watch — containing gross immorality, sexual aberrance, and even blatant nudity. Yet, many professing believers claim that they are able to watch such programming without “being affected.” Instead of portraying a spiritual maturity, such assertions display a callousness. Being “unaffected” by such programming actually displays that the corruptions they’ve already suffered are so deeply entrenched that their souls are not grieved nor are their spirits shamed by the sins they are watching.
My wife and I have determined that there are certain principles that we will use to continually monitor what we are willing to watch. Without being legalistic about specific “rules,” here are some principles that you can utilize to assess what you are watching - whether it is appropriate for the believer or not:
- The “Golden Rule” Principle: Jesus stated: “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you” [Matthew 7:12]. This means that if you would not want someone watching you do something or see something, you should be refusing to watch others do that.
- The “Non-Participation” Principle: Paul stated: “Let no one deceive you with empty words [or scenes], for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them … for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret” [Ephesians 5:6-7]. When sinful conduct is portrayed in some positive light, believers ought not to be willing to endure it. If it is disgraceful to speak of those things, how much worse is it to watch them?
- The “Holiness Factor” Principle: Paul stated: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” [2 Corinthians 7:1]. Am I able to say that holiness and righteousness are being advanced or defiled by watching?
- The “Excellent Thoughts” Principle: Paul stated: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy or praise, dwell on these things” [Philippians 4:8]. We ought not merely avoid evil, but pursue what is good.
- The “If You Doubt, Don’t” Principle: Paul stated: “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats [watches], because it is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin” [Romans 14:22-23].
Of course there are more principles to consider, but should you apply just these five principles, your confidence in the propriety of what you watch can be greatly enhanced. I pray that you will be able to sort through what you watch and faithfully avoid grieving God’s Holy Spirit. “Watch out!”