“I Can’t Unsee That” - I Do Every Day - September 27

“I can’t unsee that”

By Janel Breitenstein 

I’m guessing you’ve had that weird moment as a couple: You’re watching a movie with your spouse, maybe some popcorn between you. Then you start to squirm a little, looking sideways at your spouse. 

Onscreen, there’s a little more skin than you anticipated. Or you have to turn the volume down so your kids don’t hear the raunchy language or people shooting each other. Or the moral of the story starts to shape up as pretty much oppositional to everything you believe.

How can you sort out media decisions as a couple? What could you keep in mind?

No media is perfect.It’s all on a spectrum of right and wrong—even children’s literature. Grappling with good and evil is a core issue in humanity. 

First Corinthians 8speaks of the early church’s own gray area: food sacrificed to idols. Each person needed to decide on, and stick to, the prayerful positions of their conscience. 

Develop a personal theology before you’re too tired or things get too awkward.Consider verses like Psalm 101:3, Philippians 4:8-9, 1 Timothy 4:7-8, 1 Corinthians 15:33, and Ephesians 5:3-16

Then ask questions like these:

  • What media is “out of place” for the people of God?

  • In which topics should I avoid letting my brain marinate?

  • Am I being entertained by something God hates, in a way that doesn’t steer me toward greater character?

  • What kind of media helps my spouse toward holiness—and, at the least, doesn’t draw him or her away?

  • How would I feel if my spouse was the actor in this show/movie (i.e., pretending to make love to another person)? 

  • When I’m honest, what kinds of media increase my temptation? (FYI: Don’t fool yourself. Porn is always a bad idea on a number of levels.) 

Consider your personal areas of weakness, as well as your spouse’s(see Matthew 5:29). Each of us is bothered (or not) by different media. 

Does one of you tend toward...

  • Anxiety, perhaps compounded by the news?

  • Disturbed thoughts from violence?

  • Lust?

  • Passivity?

  • Anger, or judgment toward a people group?

Read Romans 12:3. Then consider, what kinds of media exacerbate your weakness(es) as a couple, and lead one of you into temptation?

Redemptive truth matters.It’s important to know the heart questions our society is asking. And some media, through redemptive truth, justifies the accurate storytelling that comes with it (some might say Schindler’s Listfalls in this category—and God would say the book of Judges does).  

Find out the benefits one couple gained when they stopped viewing television altogether for a year.

The good stuff: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)

Action points: Actively listen to the Holy Spirit as you consume media. And beforehand, agree as a couple to shut off whatever one of you doesn’t feel comfortable with.

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