Media and the Christian
Written by HCU Alumnus Rusty Pettus
When we think about a Biblical approach to talking about Media I like to use Walt Mueller’s 3D’s: Discover, Discern, and Decide.
The first thing we have to help our students and parents to discover what is inside our media. When I look back at the music I listened to as a kid I am amazed at lyrics. I had no idea what many of the songs were talking about because I was just singing the hook. This is true for many of our students. We need to discover what is inside any music, TV, magazine, movies, etc. In the age of the internet we can do this by a simple Google search.
The reality is that most every form of media has something objectionable in it. But I like to think of objectionable media like sugar to a diabetic. A little won’t hurt you but a lot can kill you. We can usually handle a little objectionable material but too much will make us numb and acceptable to Satan’s messages.
Discerning is the art of identifying and understanding and then practicing good judgment. When it comes to media it is the art of paying attention to the message and understanding if it is profitable for godliness. In Ephesians 5, Paul encourages us to put away our old way of living and to embrace the life God has called us to. He tells us to “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord" (Eph 5:10 NLT). This is the heart of discernment. It is like a diabetic who can quickly determine if the food in front of them is good for them or dangerous. How much can they consume before it impacts them. It is the ability to identify the message and understand its impact on our ability to think godly thoughts.
We are now at the most difficult point, deciding what we need to do. At the end of Romans 7, Paul shares his struggle between wanting to do right and doing wrong. At the beginning of chapter 8 he continues this thought with a discussion on our thoughts. Paul says that those who are dominated by sin think about sinful things while those whose minds are controlled by the Spirit think on ways to please God (Romans 8:5). This is the heart of the media discussion. If I digest 7 hours of media a day and an hour of it is filled with objectionable material how will it impact my thought life that controls my actions? How many profane words, sexual suggestions, body images, etc. can I digest before they seep into my actions and worldview? We must decide what we allow into our heart.
For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander (Matthew 15:19). Jesus says that what we put into our heart will be lived out in our life. Our media consumption is a spiritual issue as it will impact our hearts, our minds, and our actions.