Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Christian Controversy

***Note: this entry is intended for Christians.  If you are not a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, this issue most likely does not pertain to you, as God is far more concerned with your heart and soul than with your choices of entertainment.  Please email me at if you are unsure of what I mean and would like to discuss it*** 

I'm going to be courageous enough to address an issue that is mostly ignored within Christian circles.  I've touched on the issue of television and movies before, but in the past year (on several different occasions), I've been saddened by sisters in Christ who have recommended shows to me (which I have sometimes looked up on Netflix or online as a result...hoping to find something wholesome and entertaining), only to discover sexual content, homosexual relationships, inappropriate dress, blatant disregard for Christ and foul language, among other things. 

It seems that many Christians have become desensitized to the filth intertwined with their entertainment and don't even think twice about it.  They not only feel that it's acceptable to watch these things themselves, but also that it would be fine to suggest them to others.

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I were sucked into the same familiar routine of coming home from work, turning on the TV, and staring at it until bedtime.  We weren't overly selective about what we watched, as long as it was entertaining, and looking back, I'm ashamed of the blatantly immoral shows that we not only watched but also "couldn't miss". 

I understand the lure of television.  I understand the temptation to kick back and relax at the end of the day, or to zone out while folding laundry or while the kids are napping.  I totally remember the feeling of justifying a little sin for the sake of a favorite show, and then slowly justifying more and more sin as the show became more and more captivating.  It's a slippery slope, and once I justified the sin, the next step was ignoring it altogether.  Eventually I didn't even notice it, and then one day (I don't even remember it happening) I was laughing at it.  Being entertained by it.  By my actions, approving of it.

Slowly, God began working on us to clean up our television viewing habits, but the last straw was when a woman had a heart attack at my work and died in my arms.  Once I had experienced the actual heartache of death, I could no longer turn a blind eye to the "entertainment" of death I saw on TV.  Death and human suffering are not entertaining!  Sin is not entertaining!  Watching unholy and vile things over and over and over does have an effect on your life and on your ability to have a deeper relationship with God, no matter how much you may think it isn't harmful. 

"I will be careful to lead a blameless life
when will you come to me?

I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile."
Psalm 101:2-3a 

God spoke to us through so many situations during that one year in our lives, including a new-found desire in my husband to keep his eyes and heart pure...and we've been television-programming-free for almost eight years now.  We play games, talk, and have fun together way more than when we were TV watchers; we get a lot more done, and we enjoy each other's company.  To unwind at the end of the day, we do watch movies together as a couple on occasion, but have set strict guidelines for ourselves there as well.  We read detailed reviews on anything we watch beforehand, and have discovered that (with a few exceptions) PG movies are the most we can handle.  Why?  Because if we wouldn't invite Jesus over personally to watch something with us, then we shouldn't be watching it. 

In reality, Jesus is there watching everything with us anyway.

So, we have more time for each other, a closer relationship with God, and we get more accomplished than we used to.  Are there any other benefits to turning off the television?  Definitely.  All five (soon to be six) of our children have incredible imaginations.  They play, read, craft, and never whine about watching TV because it isn't a part of their lives.  They don't see commercials, so they never beg for certain toys or cereals or experiences; they are content with what they're given for gifts, and ask for the types of things that interest them, not the latest "fad".  Family movie night is a treat for them, and they associate movies with togetherness and special occasions. 

The best part?  When they have seen TV shows (mostly at relatives' homes), they've noticed the temptations and sins we've talked to them about...prepared them for...and they've pointed them out to us themselves.  They recognize sin for what it is and are not fooled by the coating of entertainment.  Their innocence and perception is truly a gift, and we pray they will never become desensitized as we once were.

If you're on the fence, I would encourage you to try turning off the TV.  It certainly can't hurt anything.  Yes, it was incredibly hard at first, but as with all obedience, it has reaped such joy and spiritual growth into our family.  We still use wholesome movies/Netflix as an educational tool and as an occasional family treat, but getting rid of the constant bombardment of violence, impure images, immorality, greed and worldliness, along with the temptation to be lazy, has been the best thing we ever could have done for our family.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

Whatever convictions God lays on your heart in regard to keeping your eyes, minds, and hearts free from vile things, I wish His blessing on all of you as together we walk this journey of life.  And since I've shared something that God has been working on in my family, if anyone would like to share how He's cured you of anger, tardiness or facebook addiction (to name a few), I would be eager to hear you out!


  1. Wonderful essay. You are to be commended for taking this stand, and for not being afraid to speak out about it. Great example for the rest of us!

  2. I love you Lisa! I agree with you as well. God doesn't command us to live completely apart from this world like the Amish believe, but he certainly doesn't want us to encourage or celebrate a culture that runs contrary to His word. If the Holy Spirit is convicting us of our entertainment choices, we would do well to listen and respond to him.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I agree, although we haven't gone as far as to get rid of tv programming. A friend of mine wrote something similar just yesterday, because of the 50 Shades of grey/Magic Mike craze going on. See it here:

  4. LOVE IT! Nice work, Lisa! I seriously need to cut out a lot of TV from my life, but it's sooo hard! We're pretty good at keeping it as clean as possible, but that's getting harder and harder nowadays! Thanks for the timely remarks! PS: I don't see the controversy--your are correct and you have the Bible verses to back you up! PPSS: Also, I've been disappointed by the response of women I know (with husbands!) to Magic Mike--ridiculous and yet so sad.

    1. Another benefit to not watching any TV...I had no idea what Magic Mike was! :)

  5. You did a good job Lisa!!! I am 100% in agreement with you!
    For a couple of years now, God had been so good to me, He delivered me from spending 3 to 4 hours a day watching televisions after work ... although i never liked violence, horror, detective, actions & so on. I watched mostly news, dicovery channel, documentary and comedy. Since then i have more time praying, reading & studying God's Word, sharing or helping friends! Please help me pray for my hubby ... he watched all kinds and from morning till late night while working at the computer! We seldom spend time together as he won't miss anything he'd started/been watching! Thanks for sharing! God bless! :)