This was originally written as a guest post on my friend Holly’s site. It’s been over 5 years now, and her site no longer exists.
I’m sure you all know that song from childhood,
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see,
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see,
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.
This post was written after I was convicted about what we watched and what we allowed our boys to watch. It’s honest and raw, as I usually attempt to be an open book. I hope it encourages and challenges you.
THE EMBARRASSING TRUTH
The other night, my husband and I watched a movie that was filled with cussing. Every curse word we heard had us cringing, sighing, and wondering why.
Yet we watched it til the end! I’m ashamed to admit it, but it is what it is.
The movie was truly awful, and did not deserve any of our precious time.
Recently our boys have been watching a new series on Netflix. We’d seen the movies in the past, and while we weren’t thrilled with them, nothing set off alarms. However, with the series, I’ve found many things I haven’t felt comfortable with.
Yet we let the boys watch it! I’m ashamed to admit it, but it is what it is.
THE GOOD STUFF
In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying a free 30 day trial of PureFlix. Not only does the service offer all of its movies, it has many other shows and series. Our favorite find has been The Torchlighter Series. Cartoons featuring true stories of heroes and martyrs of the faith that are understandable and interesting even for kids. The boys (and we!) have been very convicted and encouraged by seeing the lives they lived – and surrendered – to Jesus.
But let’s get real, friends; can we truly expect one series to counteract another, if given equal time? It’s kind of like chugging a two liter of pop (with corn syrup and artificial colors – yum!) while eating a salad. The good of that salad cannot undo the damage of that pop!
So, as it’s said, garbage in, garbage out. Our boys fight, we bicker. Yes, we are convicted quickly, but still. Paul says, in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Be careful what you see, hear, and do!
WHAT DO WE PLAN TO DO?
In light of that verse as well as others, we have decided that this particular series can’t be allowed anymore, and that anything that uses God’s name in vain is off-limits to us – and rightly so. We will continue to watch spiritually uplifting shows that encourage us to live for the Lord. We will intentionally avoid shows with things displeasing to our Lord. Why? Because we are believers, and desire to live spiritually-minded, not worldly-minded. (Romans 8:5-6 – For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.) Will this be an easy change for us? I don’t think so! The boys are already showing a bit of resistance to their new favorite show. But the right thing is often the hard thing.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Some families decide not to have any television in the house at all, and that’s fine. Each family must live by its own convictions. The goal is to keep our hearts and minds pure. Evil and godliness cannot survive together. The evil one of this world is itching to have our hearts, even if he knows our souls belong to Jesus. If he has our hearts and minds, we are essentially useless for doing God’s work. (John 10:10 – The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58
– Pray to be convicted about what you watch
– Read the Bible together
– Run everything through Philippians 4:8 before watching
– Read uplifting books together
– Listen to Christian radio dramas together
– Cut down screen time a bit each day
– Look up what you plan to watch on Plugged in
– Watch PureFlix, Great American Family, or Jelly Telly
– Watch only pre-approved videos
AGAINST THE GRAIN
Be sure, friends, that there will be times that it’s counter-culture to avoid shows and books. I think as the day of the Lord’s return approaches, the chasm between believers and the world will continue to grow wider. I can think of quite a few super popular movies and books in our country right now that would not please God and do not nourish our souls. (Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.) (Psalm 1:1 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.)
AN ENDING NOTE
And lest you think I sound legalistic and judgmental…This is not my goal at all. Under the beautiful banner of God’s grace (because of Jesus’ sacrifice), we have the freedom to do much, but not everything is good for our souls, for our hearts, for our lives, and for our growth in Christ. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23
It is the love of Christ that calls me to entreat us all: Guard your hearts and your eyes, friends, and be even more careful of your children’s.