Have you ever thought about just what happens when you watch a movie or read a book? I am having cause to think on that idea right now and am coming to some startling conclusions. Last night Stanisław, Kasia and I watched a movie that was rated for children 11 years of age and up. I will not name it as this is not an attempt to keep people from watching this particular movie, only to illustrate the point that what we allow ourselves to be exposed to most definitely affects us. Even as adults, what we see and hear affects us, how can it not affect our children.
This movie was supposed to be a comedy, a spoof of science fiction movies that are currently popular, particularly among young people. It involved these gruesome looking cartoon monsters invading from Mars, supposedly, and starting an interplanetary war with the Earth. Sounds silly doesn't it? I mean, every grown person knows there is no such thing. And the characters were caricature and ridiculous so where is the harm? Excellent question, my friend, where indeed! Where is the harm in little green men with exploding heads and ray guns that turn human beings into glowing skeletons in front of your very eyes? Not to mention the gratuitous cursing that most would dismiss as tame and mild by the world's standards and the not frequent but definitely present overt sexual innuendos. See what I mean? This is stuff our society thinks it is okay to expose 11 year old children to.
So what exactly effect does exposure to this kind of thing do to a person, particularly a grown person who ought to have the right to determine for himself what he sees or hears? Well, I think I can explain that to you. You see, things change a little when you tell Yahweh that you want to be obedient to Him and do the things He wants you to. You are made aware of the things you are not supposed to be doing, usually quickly and forcefully. Because Yahweh answers prayer, particularly that kind of prayer, there is a very definite reaction when you are exposing yourself to that kind of drivel.
The first reaction I felt was one of justification. I was sitting there while watching this film and justifying to myself why this film was not so bad. I was saying things like, 'Oh, gosh, I have seen much worse than this.', and, 'Well, that word is not that bad!', and, 'Well, I would not want the children to see this, but it shouldn't hurt a grown-up.' Oh?!!!!! Really?!!!!! Let's think about that for a minute.
This film lasted about an hour and a half. During that time, my mood and outlook began to shift, almost imperceptibly at first, and remained unnoticed by me until much later when I had time to think about it at length. I became negative and contentious, not ragingly, but subtly. A spirit of discontent began to creep in and before too long I was just as unhappy as I could be, and spoiling for an argument. Now there are those who would say that that is nothing new with me, that I am always spoiling for a good fight and to a degree that would be true. The difference here is the spirit operating. You see, I like to argue. I always have, and I have always learned a great deal by constructive arguing, the operative word here being constructive. I have always thought that you can never really define your position on any point-of-view unless you have adequately defended it. But it is important to note the difference between an argument for the sake of clarification and one for the sake of contention. There is a difference, both in motivation and outcome. In a clarifying argument, someone involved learns something, usually everyone involved but not always, and most usually there are not residual feelings of resentment and hurt unless there has been an element of contention brought into the argument. Now you may be wondering about now what exactly this has to do with what kind of movies we watch. Well I will tell you what I think.
I think that what we watch and listen to affects us subliminally, on a level that most of us except for the most discerning, are not even aware of. I believe, and it has been substantiated by objective research, that what your senses are exposed to profoundly affects your emotional, mental, and even spiritual state. Think about it. If there were nothing to that idea, does it make any sense that we would make idols out of popular actors and musicians? We do that because we are profoundly affected by these things. Let's consider the implications of this idea further.
It makes eminent sense that if you spend a certain amount of time watching people fight, kill and shed blood it would have to affect you emotionally. It would have to make you more contentious, at the very least it would have to desensitize you to the suffering of others. We have a whole generation that has grown up watching a person get shot and be fully recovered an hour later. We have a whole generation that has lost the ability to be appalled by the gore it is presented on the screen, not to mention a generation that has lost the ability to blush. And it does not take a genius to extrapolate the equation out to its inevitable conclusion. The hardening hearts and cynical minds of the people of our society, growing more and more callous by the year.
Is it any wonder that Yahweh seems to have deserted the modern human so completely? It is not that He has abandoned us. It is the fact that we have been so thoroughly saturated with graphic violence, gratuitous sex, hard and cold music and callous disregard for our fellow man through the various media that makes it difficult for us to discern the still, small voice of Yahweh trying to counsel us. For if it is true that we may only come unto Him with a childlike faith then how can we come to know Him when not only that faith has been violated but all innocence has been robbed as well? I know it sounds like Chicken Little yelling that the sky is falling but is it really? I don't think that it is unreasonable to say that a large portion of the violence and immorality committed in the real world was birthed in the fetid mind of the modern entertainment media. When we have songs that advocate killing and satanism and films that glorify illicit sex and hedonism, and literature that runs the gamut from overt violence to overt pornography it is little wonder that society is reflecting those values, or lack I should say. I think it behooves anyone who claims the name of Christ to consider what he or she allows their mind to be exposed to through the media. Not only for the sake of obedience, but for the sake of their own piece of mind, for I promise you, if you have a conscience and a heart for Yahweh you will not know peace while allowing these things space in your mind. I have always believed that a grown person should have the right to determine for themselves what they see and hear, but along with that right comes the responsibility to discern the consequence of what they are exposing themselves to. It is not a little or a nit-picky issue. Left to chance it could become a salvational issue, if what you are exposed to hardens your heart and plants a spirit of rebellion. We all need to be aware of these consequences and take them seriously and make discerning choices.
"Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith Yahweh" (Jeremiah 6:15, KJV)
The bottom line should be, as always, does what we are watching or listening to glorify Yahweh? If it does not, then perhaps we should not allow it in. Food for thought.