Now that we have discussed a little about why we should be mindful about the things we put in our head and we also talked about two guideposts to keep our perspective, we need to talk about how we can actually evaluate media. This is an expansion to the key points that I wrote in an old article where I described the four key principles I use to evaluate the entertainment that I allow in my life.
Stance on Sin
I do not want to participate in glorifying any sin that Jesus died for. In context, if a movie celebrates sexual sin, murder, idolatry, or other clearly defined sins in the Bible (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), I would rather not engage in that entertainment (Psalm 101:3). This does not include any instance of that sin in the movie, but rather, I look at the context. A dynamic character in any story will learn a lesson. If that lesson is the perils of that sin (even from a secular standpoint), I can accept that in a story so long as the situation is not so graphic that it would cause issues to watch it. The stance of sin is the first critical standpoint that I use to evaluate entertainment.
Sexual Portrayals Outside Marriage
I pick this one out specially because of the attention paid specifically to it in Scripture. Paul warns that sexual sin is committed against the body (1 Corinthians 6:18), and the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). I have a specific sensitivity for this, since the Bible does directly say Flee sexual temptation. Flee sexual temptation, and the entertainment which fuels that fire.
Presence of Capricious Violence
Violence is a core our humanity, unfortunately. There are movies about war in which bullets must fly in the midst of a wonderful work of art. Lessons can be learned and the heart can be touched. Those are not the movies I am specifically talking about. I am speaking of unneeded violence; violence for the sake of violence in a plot to merely increase the viewership. This type of violence leads us to bad choices, angry living, and other problems (Proverbs 16:29).
This one may be a little odd, but if a movie blurs the boundary between good and evil, I try to avoid it. My basis for this idea is that the Bible is a fascinating story of good versus evil. If a movie makes me question what is good and what is evil in the world, it is like the serpent in the garden that whispers doubts that God is loving and has our best interest in mind (Genesis 3:1-7). If I cannot identify good from evil in a film, it is not a film for me.
I hope that these four principles will help you to evaluate your entertainment. Much more could be said on the topic, and I am in the process of writing about those as well. In the mean time, I pray these last few articles will help you to better understand the importance of how and why to examine our entertainment.