I have a love/hate relationship with the TV. Lately my teen girls have been grounded from it (for unnamed infractions such as quabbling and disrespect). I have relished the time with them that used to separate us. Our one television lives in the basement and it sometimes keeps us from much evening interaction.
However, my media thoughts lately aren’t for my daughters. I tend to go round and round on this issue. Here are some of the problems I’m struggling with in regard to personal media usage.
I enjoy crime shows… like police and lawyer and forensic stuff. I also love historical shows set in other places and time periods. So I ask these kind of questions from time to time:
- David said in Psalm 101:3, “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.” Hmm… sometimes the things that cross the screen I am glued to fall into those categories. Is this nourishing or poisoning my soul?
- Am I indulging my desire to tune out at the end of the day? Are there better options for down time?
- Do my TV habits rob me of sleep at the end of a long day? Why do I want to be entertained rather than sleep when I’m exhausted?
- Do these shows I watch take up too much wasted space in my thought life? Could I be spending that time praying and thinking about real people rather than processing the lives of fictional characters?
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not ready to give up some of the great shows I enjoy, and I’m not saying God is calling me to. I can’t wait for Downton Abbey and several others to start. Many stories include the same themes as found in Scripture – good vs. evil. We have some great family memories from our Friday family fun nights watching a movie together and talking about the characters.
Media with the kids form many conversation prompts about life and worldview. As I’m thinking about all God is calling me to do (parenting, writing, serving, relationships), I just wonder where I’m going to fit in the time for all the season premieres of the next few weeks? Which shows would I want to turn off if Jesus walked in the room?
I long to be discerning. I want to manage my time in a way that honors the Lord. I know my propensity toward fatigue and the path of least resistance. When I get to the end of my life – what will be my regrets? Will I wish I had made more time for TV? I kinda doubt it.
As I pray and ask the Lord for discernment, I’m wondering about you too? Have you thought about your choices, limits, and the impact of what comes in through our eyes? Scripture calls our eyes the window of our soul.
How do these verses play into media usage in your life?
- Philippians 4:8 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
- Galatians 6:8 “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”
- Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
- Matthew 6:22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.”
Thanks for joining in thinking about this issues. I’d love to hear any insights you might have! Leave a comment below to join the conversation.