Standards on Viewing T.V., Movies, and Media

Question

Our kids’ friends seem to have seen every PG-13 movie release and every show on prime time television. Our family holds strict standards for what constitutes appropriate viewing for Christian families.  How do we stick to our guns when it seems no one else does?

Answer

The Bible has a lot to say about purity, righteousness and holiness.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said that blessed are the “pure in heart” and those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”  In I Peter 1:16 we’re told to, “Be holy as I am holy.”

As a couple you must prayerfully consider what that means for you and for your family.  How does what we watch impact our purity, righteousness and holiness?  What do you do as a couple to encourage these Christ like traits in each other?  What standards have you set for what you watch and why?

Do you base your standards on the ratings alone?  Is it based on the degree of nudity or violence?  It’s  interesting that some evangelicals are massively offended by nudity but don’t blink an eye at watching blood-spurting scenes of people brutally torturing and murdering other people.  When did nudity become more offensive than brutality and murder?  We need be open to whatever the Holy Spirit might want to say to us.

I still remember the song I learned in Sunday School as a little boy, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see.”  In Job 31:1, Job says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”  Somehow without the benefit of psychological studies Job knew the lasting power of a mental image.  This is an important issue.

How do you stick to your guns?  Determine what your standards are and why you’ve set them.  Know that other Christians who you know love the Lord may have a different standard.  I’ve been surprised by some of the DVD’s I’ve seen in the homes of friends who are Christian leaders and I’m sure there could be some who might be surprised at some of the DVD’s I have in my collection.  What’s important is that you’ve prayerfully considered what your standard is for you and your family and have peace before the Lord regarding that standard.

Next, sit down with your children, open God’s word and share with them why you draw the lines where you do.  Talk to them about purity and righteousness and holiness in ways they can understand.  Make sure they know that your standards are not about keeping them away from things that are good for them but from things that could be harmful to them.  Be careful not to trash or label parents who may have different standards.

Also, don’t just talk about what they can’t watch but spend even more time on what they can watch, how it is helpful and why it is good for them.  Philippians 4:8 provides a wonderful template for what we should feed our minds and hearts.

Remember, you may have some control over what your kids watch at home but you have little control over what they watch in someone else’s home.  That’s why is critical that they know, even if they don’t fully understand, the reasons for your standards and that they see those modeled day-in and day-out and pray daily that their hearts become even more sensitive to the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit that will help them make wiser choices.

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