I think too few people realize the profound impact what you watch and read has on your life. There are those who think it makes no difference as long as the life you’re living does not reflect the questionable things found in current entertainment. As an English major, I obviously have strong beliefs about the power of books. It is television, however, that I think too many Christians underestimate.
In my life, I adore all forms of cinematography. Along with that, being an English major means I always have my eye out for a good, engaging story. From what I’ve heard, the novels and TV show GOT has this and more.
For those of you who don’t know what GOT is, it is a HBO television series based on a series of novels written by author George R.R. Martin. “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy adventure tale full of great wars, complex characters, magic, politics, independent women, legendary men, unexpected twists, and more than one colorful dragon. To me, that sounds like the makings of a fantastic tale. What’s not to appreciate about a story containing its ambiguous characters and the exploration of issues of social hierarchy, loyalty, corruption, civil war, crime, and love?
However, despite this, GOT is also very well known for containing a lot of explicit sex, nudity, vulgarity, and gore. Gore, I view as something that is “to each his own”… whatever level of gore and blood you feel you can watch and not be affected is up to you (I love battle scenes as much as the next fan, but prefer the less realistic sword goes in and comes out clean, not realistic I know, but that’s about all I can handle). Sex is NOT like that. In my opinion, as a Christian, sex is to be viewed as holy and sacred (if you want to get a better understanding of my views on sex and our society read HERE). There are many things I believe do not need to be seen or experienced in any context outside with one’s husband or wife.
Television is such an influential form of media. I have made a lot of connections with friends over the years through the shows, movies, and books we enjoy. In regards to GOT, too many times I have had a friend whom I admire and respect excitedly discuss having read the books or watched the show… and every time it shocks me. I think to myself, how can this person who has such strong Christian values watch something like that? I do not mean that to sound like I am judging them, and I apologize if it comes off that way. I don’t look down on them for watching, but I do hesitate in my understanding of their values and beliefs. My response to this is that I NEVER want anyone’s understanding of my core values to be compromised by what I watch on television. This is why despite how good the storyline may be... or how much I would probably love the epic battles, plot twists, and engaging characters; I cannot and will not have anything to do with GOT. In a way, I see it as protecting myself from myself.
They say you never forget what you see, whether that be in your imagination through novels or outright on your TV screen, these things will always stay with you. You can’t unsee it, even if you pledge to not think on the bad stuff. You are giving that dangerous material power over your thoughts and actions whether you mean to or not. I know if I watched GOT I would probably really like it, but I do not want to compromise my thinking and values by permitting the bad stuff as an influence or temptation in my life.
My challenge to all my fellow Christians is this; remember what is written in the book of Philippians.
“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
1. Be sure you are filling your mind with the things that follow the above guidelines. Purity is sacred, not only physically, but also mentally. The mind is a powerful tool. Recognize that what you watch and what you read ALWAYS impacts the way you live and think.
And if that does not bother you in and of itself, make sure what you are watching is not hindering someone else’s understanding of your core beliefs and values.
“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”
~ Romans 14:13-15
2. Recognize that what you read or what you watch impacts your ministry and your reflection of Christ to both non-believers and believers alike.
Plus, if it takes having to get past all the inappropriate, explicit material to enjoy the good stuff… how good is it really?