Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making Media Choices

I admit upfront that this post is going to offend some people.  I realize it's going to rub some others the wrong way. Others are going to brush it off as "who is she" to tell me this.  That's OK.  I'm still going to speak the truth. 

However, please know that I'm speaking truth in love.  I'm not being judgmental.  I'm not looking down on ones that are making poor choices.  I just want you to pause and think.  Think about the issue at hand.  Let it work its way into the deepest hidden parts of your heart and let it sit.  When it sits in that quiet place, the place that the Holy Spirit can reach you the most....what happens?  Do you feel at peace or do you feel twinges of guilt?  That is where only you can decide if the issue at hand is something that is telling you to make changes.  I can't make that choice for you.  That is truly between you and God.  It's not up to me to decide.

The issue?  Media.  Specifically TV choices and movie choices. 

Our family often feels VERY lonely in our strictness in deciding what is appropriate for us to watch as a family and what is appropriate for Kevin and I as adults to watch. 

Forget going by the ratings the government has set.  Have you ever stopped to look at what is in a PG-13 movie?  Did you know that a PG movie can now contain profanity, violence and brief nudity.  If those things are allowed in a PG movie, have you REALLY stopped to look at the themes presented in a PG-13 movie?  Yet, knowing many parents are regularly letting their teenagers watch such movies without giving it a second thought? Even more alarming is the number of parents that will take a MUCH younger child to a movie that the "world" says should not be watched before the age of 13.  How many parents are really stopping to think about what they are doing?

This MOM is.  Does that mean that we never allow our 14 year old daughter to watch a PG-13 movie.  No.  There are definite times that we've allowed it.  It is NEVER without  researching the movie first and it always includes checking out the reviews at Plugged In

Just today, I looked up about a dozen very popular, current PG-13 movies.  The average amount of inappropriate words in them is over 30! 

What  about sexuality?  Is there any wonder that marriages are crumbling before they get a chance to start?  Thanks to the media and OUR ACCEPTANCE of this as "normal" by our sitting down and watching TV shows and movies that show complete disregard to the sanctity of marriage and the gift of sex as being for man and wife.  We as a culture have allowed such images to flood our brains so much that we are desensitized to what we are really watching.  Nudity is normal.  Sexual innuendos are no longer innuendos...they are just there for the eyes to see and ears to hear.  A very popular movie that is currently being talked about as "so good" amongst young teens, happens to have this quote to describe the sexuality presented. 

"If sexual entendres and jokes were melons, this film could keep a herd of hippopotami well fed for a month." I will refrain from going into specifics, but we will just say that the movie leaves little to the imagination.  Every aspect of sexuality is twisted, distorted, and joked about. 

The point is this:  have you become desensitized to what your children are watching.  What about YOU?  Do you REALLY see what is on the TV or movie screen.  Do your ears no longer perk up when God's name is taken in vain?  Can a "mild" curse word be said and you not even hear it anymore?  Even the harsher words are becoming so "normal" that eyebrows aren't even raised. 

Yet, as a society we hand $20 our kids and let them walk in and be exposed to it.  As adults, we flip on a TV show and don't give it second thought. 

I know how it is.  We made the decision to do away with regular and cable TV in our homes because WE were falling into the world's trap.  It is unbelievable how much more at peace we are in our home by getting rid of that garbage.  We still watch some things but they are carefully screened and generally only come through Netflix streaming.  We specifically choose each show that comes into our home.  Gone are the days of just flipping on the TV and watching whatever is popular and is playing on network TV.   Some days it may only be Andy Griffith or Cosby Show that make the cut.  Some days we are able to find other things as well. 

Though this may step on toes, I say it with love.  I can say it with love because I HAVE been there.  Take some of the most current popular shows.  Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Bachelor/Bachelorette, Big Brother, etc...  I don't even know what the latest shows are anymore except for how they are talked about so often on facebook.  I admit I used to set the clock by when many of them came on.  My DVR recorded hours and hours of similar programming that we would watch at night.   However, God did a HUGE work in our hearts and made us REALLY stop and see what we were watching.  He made us take a deep look at where our lines of black and white had turned to gray and truth is, I was ashamed and appalled.  As a Christian, as a mom, and as someone that is seeking to be used by God----I was throwing my ministry out the door by filling my mind with GARBAGE.  That's right---it is GARBAGE! 

Take a minute to look at the shows.  They promote homosexuality.  They take sexuality and turn it into a game.  God given sexuality is anything but a game----it's a treasure and a joy.  Romance is distorted.  Finding a mate is a game where if you are lucky enough to make the final cut---you are given the key to the fantasy suite.  Yes, that's are "lucky" enough to get to test drive your relationship with the bachelor/bachelorette.  However, the next night someone else is in that same position.  Other shows are about lying and cheating to get ahead.  We watch with our eyes glued to the screen as alliances are made and broken all for the benefit of "winning".

Here is the TRUTH.  Many think those things are harmless.  WE aren't acting like that.  WE know better than to behave in such ways.  "It's just a movie."  "It's just a mindless TV show."  It isn't.  When we sit and watch something either as individuals, as a couple, or as a family we are in effect saying "We agree".  When we turn it off, we are saying it isn't for us or we need to spend our time a different way. 

A good rule of thumb when watching a show or movie (aside from checking reviews online) is to ask this question.  Is what I'm watching in line with what I want my life to show?  Is this show uplifting?  Is this show bringing glory to God and His values?  Is it biblical?  Is what is happening on the screen a way I want to act or is it a way I want my children to act when they are older?  Unfortunately, 99% of the time the answer is going to be no if we are honest with ourselves.  Take away every justification of "it's just pretend" or "it really doesn't matter".  Strip away every excuse.  Take off the gray glasses and look only at the black and white.  It doesn't take long to start feeling those twinges of "maybe this isn't right for us".  It doesn't take long for the Holy Spirit to lead in different directions. 

Just take a few minutes and REALLY look at the choices you are making in regards to what you are watching.  What does it promote?  Does it promote Christian and family values?  TV and movies are no longer just about entertainment.  It is about making a decision.  Are you with the world or are you walking against what the world says is normal?  It's hard.  It's very hard at times.  Yet, the rewards are immeasurable.  We may go weeks or months at a time between being able to watch a current movie that meets the standards we are choosing to follow.  It does feel lonely at times because so few of us are TRULY standing up for NEW standards.  Yet, we will never turn back.  Doing what is right may not always be the easy path, but it is worth it.  

Most importantly, if we want to teach our children to make good choices as they get older they MUST witness us making them at home.  If we want our children to move beyond having faith JUST because we have faith, we need to give them opportunities to see us stepping out in faith and making decisions that don't conflict with what we say.  Walk the walk, don't just talk the talk.  Nothing we do should compromise our faith.  YES, that is VERY hard to uphold.  It's a goal I fail at on daily basis, even minute to minute.  Yet, God knows the direction of my heart.  He sees when I'm attempting to walk in His ways even if I stumble.  He also sees when I'm willfully submitting myself to things that are against His word.

I admit I "sat" in that disobedience for too long.  I didn't immediately turn off the TV even though for months I knew what I was watching wasn't pleasing.  I justified.  I became desensitized.  Yet, now....I could never go back. 

I hope that just one single person reading this post stops and thinks.  One person can then lead another person to redefining what is appropriate for their family.  Let's start a positive trend.  A trend that brings families back to the REAL basics.  The real truth.  To what REALLY matters.  Forget what the world say is normal. 

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Well said!! I am glad to hear others thinking about such serious matters. The way is narrow and often difficult but I'm so happy for those blessings when we follow the Lord!