Should I Watch It?
By Rebekah Largent
Many of us have been there at some point. We cringe through yet another curse word or inappropriate scene in our evening movie, wondering if we should walk out of the theater or hit “stop” on the DVD player and call it a night. I know I’ve been in this situation more than once—and unfortunately, I haven’t always made the right decision.
As Christians, the subject of choosing which movies to watch can be a tricky one. There are literally thousands of films available to us on just about every subject, ranging from morally sound to completely depraved. We often think, “It’s just harmless entertainment. I know better and won’t emulate these things, so what I’m watching won’t hurt me.” We may even justify it: “If other Christians are watching this movie, then it must be okay for me too.” However, there are a few reasons why, as followers of Christ, we should be discerning about our movie choices.
We are to live holy lives, striving to please God in everything we do (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:15–16). The phrase “What Would Jesus Do?,” popularized in the 90s, may seem like a tired trend, but it is truly the motto by which we are to live our lives. It’s hard to see Jesus sitting down in front of many of the movies we watch, isn’t it? Yet His character and life on earth is our ultimate example for holiness (Ephesians 5:1–2; 1 Corinthians 11:1). Jesus wasn’t just a good person—He was blameless (1 Peter 2:21–22).
In addition to being holy, we are also instructed to think on what is good, pure, beautiful, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). This doesn’t mean that we are to avoid all media, people, and situations that are not fully good and pure. In means that, instead of seeking out these things, we should strive after the things that are pleasing to God. After all, what we put into our minds and hearts will eventually come out one way or another (Luke 6:45), whether it’s in our actions, our words, or even in our fears.
Our Christian testimony is another reason to be discerning in our movie choices. As the Apostle Peter said, Christians are to be a light to the world and to show others the changes God has made in us as a result of His forgiveness and sanctification (Matthew 5:14; 1 Peter 2:11–12). Our movie selection may not make a difference to the stranger sitting next to us in the movie theater, but choosing whether or not to see a certain movie may be the reason someone asks, “What’s different about this person?” It could give us a unique opportunity to share about Christ. Good choices about movies also help us to avoid becoming a stumbling block to another believer’s walk with God (Romans 14:13).
Ultimately, God has given each of us a conscience for a reason. He has sent the Holy Spirit to believers so that we may decipher between right and wrong. If your conscience bothers you about a certain movie, then that’s probably the Holy Spirit convicting you—and the best move is to quietly leave the theater or switch off that DVD player (James 4:17).