PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday’s post was titled, “Words Matter.” Continuing on that vein, and for lack of a better title, today’s topic is, “Images Matter.” And what I mean by that is the things we watch. Our entertainment.
I can’t help but think of the debate scene from the movie, “Clueless.” Cher made the argument, “Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value.”
It’s hilariously backwards. And it’s unfortunately true—violent entertainment will influence violent behavior.
Not necessarily for every person, but some people are far more impressionable and easily influenced than others. “Psychology Today” has an interesting article titled, “Violence, The Media, and Your Brain.” One part of the article shares, “The Macquarie University Children and Families Research Centre found that children who watch violent movies are more likely to view the world as an unsympathetic, malicious and scary place and that this stimulates aggression. It also suggests children are more likely to exhibit combative behavior while becoming desensitized to violence. Reportedly, the MRI brain scans of children who have viewed film or television violence had a similar look when compared to those who have violently acted out.”
Interestingly, the article included an image of “The Dark Knight,” starring the late Heath Ledger. It was highly speculated that the method approach used by the actor in his role of the Joker created anxiety and sleepless nights for him during production. Indeed, Ledger had secluded himself for six weeks and even created a “Joker Journal” filled with violent images to help him get into character.
When we fill up our minds with violent or immoral images, we will become desensitized to them. We begin to be more accepting and tolerant of situations that are contrary to Scripture.
I’m not particularly drawn to horror movies or action movies… but it doesn’t take a horror movie to desensitize us. Ten years ago, I was a huge fan of “Sex In the City” and owned the series and both the movies. After my husband and I got serious about our faith, we ended up throwing those DVD’s out, as well as others, because we realized that they reflected things we don’t need to see.
In Psalm 101:3a, King David wrote, “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless” (ESV). I find this interesting. And having made the choice to remove certain things that I once deemed entertainment, I understand his declaration in this verse.
I’m not trying to sound self-righteous by any means. And I’m not saying I never watch anything that is secular. Wayne and I love to watch “The Office.” We even speak in “Office” lines to each other, and it drives my son crazy. (“Not everything has to be a reference to “The Office,” Mom!”) And I still watch movies, but I’m just a bit more selective.
Fortunately, we have Pureflix and there is a rise in good, quality Christian entertainment. I’d put “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” up there against any mainstream romantic comedy. The movie is hilarious with a great Christian message! And I recently went to see “Overcomer.” My eyes sprang a leak over my popcorn but I left so inspired!
Whether someone believes the Bible or not, there are few (if any) who would argue the wisdom and truth of Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
These are the things we need to spend more time with. We need to embrace entertainment that upholds truth and honor. Entertainment that feeds our hearts and souls. We need to weigh the worth of the images that we view.
Today, as you pray, thank God for being the source of all that is good and worthy. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw us toward images that feed us in a positive and uplifting way.