A couple months ago, my cousins and I were sitting in one of their rooms. We were all just hanging out, laughing, talking about life. The conversation shifted to Netflix, as they began to rave about the show Riverdale.
I immediately began to feel uncomfortable.
I too, had been drawn into the world of Riverdale. I wanted to know who killed Jason Blossom. I secretly hoped Alice Cooper would leave the show. I felt deep sympathy for Jughead Jones. But one day, I began to feel really convicted for watching the show, after realizing that it was one I was always watching in my room, behind closed doors, on my laptop. It wasn’t something I felt comfortable watching with my parents. So should I have been watching it at all?
As the girls began to squeal over the latest revelations on the show, I felt the need to speak up. So I did. “Honestly, I stopped watching it. I didn’t feel like it was having any positive influences on me.”
“WHAT?!” was the general response. I hadn’t expected them to understand it completely, and I wasn’t about to bash them with accusations for watching it. But I presented my argument, and I planted a seed.
Something I have really tried to make a conscious effort of lately is being cautious of what I am consuming for television. It is so easy to access so many shows these days. And while many aren’t bad – like HGTV, or baking shows, there IS a very large variety of raunchy television that is available.
We, as Christians, are called to holiness. This means we must live our lives set apart. How can we do this, if we consume the same media as our worldly neighbours?
Hollywood has done an excellent job of desensitizing our minds. They lace romance movies with fornication and promiscuity. They slip in swear after swear, until you no longer flinch at the sound of them. They make terrible choices lead to happy endings, without showing the trail of destruction that they leave behind. We are sucked into it. We hear our friends talking about these shows, so we check them out. Everyone raves about a new movie, so we buy tickets to see it in theaters.
As these movies and shows inch their ways further and further into our daily conversations, saying no to them can be a daunting task. We fear that we will be seen as weird. We fear that we will be missing out. But the thing is, what we watch and fill our minds with deeply affects us, whether or not we choose to believe that. We might say that something isn’t “soooo bad, compared to ______”, but that is only going to cause us to make compromises. The fact is that there is no such thing as a little compromise. Every compromise is an equal compromise. Every compromise will take you a step further from the fullness that you could have in your spiritual walk.
I had to give up Riverdale. I quit that one cold turkey. And you know what? I haven’t missed it all that much. The show celebrates darkness, and I have replaced that with marvellous light. I have majorly cut back on The Office, because while I love the show dearly, it is filled with so many crude jokes and innuendos. Instead of watching it continuously for hours, it is now reserved for just “now and then”, and always viewed with some serious discretion. And I’m slowly easing off of Friends, which is a lot tougher.. but after a lot of digging and questioning, the morals and relationships that it portrays are not always positive, or agreeable.
To stop watching what is popular, takes a lot of strength. It is not easy. It is not always fun. But it is oh so worth it, I promise you. Fill your mind with the good stuff. Fill your mind with God stuff, and you will see a change. It comes down to choosing to live counter-culturally – saying no to the cultural norms, and yes to the ways of the Lord.
These are a few questions that I use to evaluate what I’m consuming:
- Does this celebrate darkness, or the light?
- Does this portray positive relationships?
- Are the characters making choices that I would make?
- Would my parents agree with the values that are being show?
I want to challenge you to ask these questions the next time you start your favourite show. And if you feel convicted the way I did, then I strongly encourage you to take a break. Even if it’s just for a little while. Just to see how it affects you. 🙂
PS. This is one of my favourite resources for movie/music/tv show reviews. (It doesn’t have EVERYTHING on it, but it does have quite a lot.)