by Dave Hintz
Just like hockey in Minnesota and basketball in Indiana, movies in Southern California serve as the locus of culture and entertainment. Opening night at AMC is filled with lively crowds and focused audiences deeply engaging themselves in the cinematic experience. Many Christians—myself included—go to the theater, as movies provide a happy diversion from life. Yet, if unchecked, our cinematic experience can corrupt our consciences, whet our appetites for sin, and implant thoughts and images that will defile our purity. All movies are not evil, but we need to face the reality that certain motion pictures are an affront to God and must not be patronized by His holy saints. Thus, as the salt and light of the world, a few guiding principles applied with the exercise of your conscience and application of Biblical wisdom may be in order.
- Does this movie blaspheme God? I saw one preview for a movie whose plot centers around a popular comedian acquiring the power of God. I would find it very difficult to justify supporting such sacrilege with the money God gave me.
- Does this movie glorify sin? Romans 12:9 states, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” I once heard a pastor say, “I will not be entertained by that for which Christ died.” One might say that the Bible has sinful acts depicted in it. Although this is true, the Bible does not glorify these acts. Scripture does not cause us to celebrate when Cain rises up against Abel; rather, it portrays sin for what it is, and often in a very discreet way.
- Is the movie sensual and/or base? Ephesians 5:4 states, “and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” Would your conscience be defiled if you were to sit in on a conversation between two people who cracked crass jokes and made filthy remarks? If this is the case, why is it acceptable to do this with a movie? If you want to avoid such content, try a service such as screenit.com, which lists objectionable material (Men, have your wives or a female friend check the content for you, as the descriptions themselves can be detailed).
- Am I practicing the law of love? Many times, when certain scenes take a sensual bent, men will look away or look at the floor. The idea behind such actions is “if I am not defiled, then it’s okay”. However, what about the actress? In making the movie, she is acting immodestly and sinning against God. That which was meant to be displayed only to her husband is now seen by millions! Although we ourselves may not see it, with our money we indirectly pay directors and producers to exploit other people’s daughters. We must ask ourselves, is this a loving thing to do for these actresses and actors?
- Am I remembering that a movie is just a movie? No amount of passing pleasure is worth compromising our holiness. Missing the “Movie Event of the Summer” won’t kill you.
- Will this compromise your pursuit of holiness? The holier we are, the greater intimacy with God we will enjoy. The pure in heart will see God (Matt. 5:8) as we conform to the image of His likeness. The objective of our Christian life is not to pass time on the way to heaven, but to run the race with endurance, knowing that “without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:15 NIV).”