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Should I Watch This? A Call to Consider the Impact of Entertainment on Your Life

On June 7, 2003, Devin Moore entered a Fayette, Ala., police station on suspicion of stealing a car. He had no criminal history, and showed no signs of agressive behavior. Then, inexplicably, he snapped. Grabbing a police officer’s gun, he proceeded to shoot and kill three people. All three were shots to the head. After being captured, Devin Moore said this, “Life is like a video game. Everybody’s got to die sometime.” Moore spent hours upon hours playing Grand Theft Auto, a video game that has sold millions of copies and grossed over $2 billion.

What you allow into your mind and heart shapes your life.

This is an extreme example of an important truth: Your life is shaped by what you allow into your mind and heart. Relationships. Movies. Books. Video Games. All of these impact the person you are currently and the person you will be in the future. Neurologist Dr. Richard Pellegrino said it this way, “You can pour messages in, and if you pour the wrong messages in, they take a particular power—more than the listener understands.”

If you don’t believe videos and music shape your mind, consider the companies who cut $3 million checks for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl. Three million … for 30 seconds?! That’s crazy unless these companies are confident that showing you a glimpse of their product will influence your mind and increase their revenue.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep thinking about this. You see, I’m not sure Christians approach any other issue with as much apathy and passivity as they do with their entertainment choices. This is puzzling when you consider the potential entertainment has to shape our lives. Are we desensitized? Are we rebelling against the uber-conservatives who believe any movie, song, etc. is a work of Satan?

And, if we’re rebelling, I get it. On a list of things I dislike most, the “movies are a work of Satan” crowd comes in at number three, behind cats and green bean baby food. Movies and music aren’t bad. In fact, the opposite is true. They are good gifts from God. They can reveal powerful qualities of redemption and truths about God. They can help you see God’s creation in new ways.

This post isn’t my attempt to convince you movies are evil. It is a call to see the importance of intentionality and discernment. It’s a call to stop swinging on a pendulum from “almost everything goes” to “all movies are from Satan.” It’s a call to embrace the “gray area.” It’s in this area that you must deal with your heart and motives.

Should I watch this? Here are seven questions to help you answer that question.

1.) Does this movie or show celebrate sin and make righteousness look strange?

For years, I heard, “You’re sinning if you watch a rated-R movie.” Then, Mel Gibson filmed The Passion of the Christ, and it was rated … wait for it … R. How could this be?

Here’s how.

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Frank lives in Jackson, TN with his amazing wife and two boys. He loves black coffee and doing stuff outside like golf and running.