Viewer Discretion Advised

"Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways." (Psa. 119:37). "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes . . ." (Psa. 101:3).

The manufacturing plant for practically every seed-choking weed of destruction is the television/internet medium where we "live, move, and have our being." Before you use that mouse or remote, here are three categories of "viewer discretion advised" questions regarding how your eyes and the media should relate:

First, regarding your time: Am I skipping or delaying something important in order to watch this now? What are my other social/entertainment options besides watching television or going out to see a movie? How much time have I already spent on media today? How much time have I spent surfing the net, blogging, or maintaining an online presence through social network sites? In the last week, how much time have I spent on the spiritual disciplines, building relationships, or serving in my local church compared to time spent consuming media? After investing the time to view this, will I look back on it as time well spent?

Second, regarding your heart: Why do I want to watch this program or visit this internet site? What do I find entertaining about it? Am I seeking to escape from something I should be facing by watching this -- or seeking comfort or relief that is only found in God? What sinful temptations will this program/website present? Do I secretly want to view something in it that's sinful -- watching because I'm bored, which says what about my heart? Am I watching simply because others are, seeking to fit in? How have my online relationships impacted my face-to-face relationships, especially my face-to-face relationship with God? What motivates me to create and maintain a blog, MySpace, or Facebook presence? Am I attempting to impress others? Could I fast from all television/internet activities for a single day?

Third, regarding the content: What worldview or philosophy of life does this program or film present? Does this program conflict with the Bible's view of man's nature, sin, or God? What does this program or film seek to glamorize or consider important? Who are the heroes of the story, and why? Is sin shown as having negative consequences, or is it glorified and rewarded -- or worse, appealing and seductive? Is the humor coarse? Is violence or sexual content integral to the story line, or is it used gratuitously to entertain or titillate? Does the program portray materialism as "the good life;" help me to understand my surrounding culture better without tempting me to sinful compromise? When I'm chatting online do I communicate graciously, consistent with the gospel, or arrogantly or crudely? (Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, edited by C.J. Mahaney, pgs. 57-59.)

The love of the Father is lost incrementally to the world one lustful "blink" at a time (1 Jn. 2:15ff.). Weeds that conveniently go unchecked have a way of buying one-way tickets to Thessalonica with Demas (2 Tim. 4:10).

~Mark LaCour