By Rachel Reed, MBC Arlington Director of Women’s Ministries
When I began this post, my intention was to write every reason I believe women in our church should not see the upcoming film “50 Shades of Grey”. It was out of my fear that many women within our church would, under the banner of entertainment, decide God’s Word was irrelevant when they lined up to see this movie. However, there are many great articles like “Fifty Shades, Twilight and Teaching Young Women to Desire Abusers” that speak to my point.
I would rather use this space to help equip you with tools in which you can filter any piece of entertainment you may be considering.
“O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see,
there’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love.
So, be careful little eyes what you see.”
Most of us are familiar with this little nursery rhyme. Many of you may have rocked your little one to sleep whispering this tune, praying it takes root in their young heart. But how true it is, “O be careful little eyes what you see!” Why is it important for us to guard what our eyes see? What we view and hear is a window into our mind. What enters our mind will soon make its way into our hearts.
Paul addresses this in Philippians 4:8 saying, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
I don’t know about you, but this passage convicts me.My natural instinct opposes dwelling on true, lovely and excellent things. At the slightest moment of apathy, it is much more natural for my mind to dwell on comparison, envy and fantasy. Which leads me to wonder, if I am in a lifelong pursuit to see my mind transformed to be more like the God I serve, why would I feed myself with anything antagonistic to this pursuit of godliness? What I feast my eyes upon will inevitably shape my thoughts. Am I viewing what is true? What is honorable and right?
Whether you believe it or not, entertainment teaches you how to think, feel and act. I know the temptation could be to feel you can’t watch anything these days if we filter it through Philippians 4:8. However, engaging in the dialogue our culture is having with us through entertainment can be beneficial if we know how to filter it through a biblical worldview. Rather than simply watching a movie to get lost in its fantasy, ask yourself what it is teaching you about life, love and expectations. Then ask yourself what God has to say about those things. Through this engagement, you may even learn more of what God has to say and His heart to protect you.
While we have the Christian liberty to watch or read anything at our disposal, not all accessible entertainment is for our benefit. So, how do we discern what to allow in our minds through entertainment while still enjoying a good film or book? Here are a few questions that will aid in discerning what we should allow in our minds:
Why am I watching this movie or choosing this book?
Am I looking to live vicariously through this story in an attempt to escape reality? If so, this should be a warning sign. The subtle tide of discontentment will begin to wash over you as you long all the more for this story to be your reality.
Will this experience cause people to think I advocate the behavior I am seeing, even if I don’t?
1 John 2:5-6 teaches us, “…By this we know we are in Him: The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” As disciples of Jesus, we are called to walk in such a manner that as people imitate our lives, they will ultimately become more like Christ. The phrase, “do as I say, not as I do” should not be the mantra of a disciple’s life.
Would seeing this film compromise my evangelistic platform with non-believers?
Our final commandment from Jesus in Matthew 28:19 is to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations…” This knowledge should shape how we live our lives. Our decisions should be filtered through the lens of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, God’s desire is that I become more like Him, and my mission on earth is to bring people to Him. That is not a grey area. Let’s not try to resurrect everything we died to and were buried with Christ in by aiding our flesh under the justification of “entertainment”. A $12 movie ticket is not worth falling back into pornography, lust, materialism or any other fleshly struggle you’ve once known victory in. It is not worth the battle your mind will face. It is not worth the missed opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ! The costly and precious blood of Jesus that redeemed me from a life of enslavement to sin is worth far more than any piece of earthly entertainment I could ever find.