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Christian Living

Entertainment: “It’s Not That Bad”


Jackson Hicks February 21, 2020
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“TOOOOORRRYY HOLT!” I shouted, as my All-Pro wide receiver trotted into the end zone once again, much to my dad’s dismay. Madden 2002 was the peak of twelve-year-old Jackson’s video gaming career.  I smile to myself when I remember the hours of fun we had playing in the living room of our old house, playing game after game. However, as I remember, reliving the memory of Donta Curry sacking David Garrard, I can’t help but ask myself a question. Was God glorified when we chose to spent our time playing video games?

 

In general, video games, movies, music, and social media were not a large part of my childhood. My parents – to their credit – really worked to limit our exposure to outlets which they believed did not glorify God. Like many conservative, homeschooling families, we listened to Christian music, watched clean movies, and tried to avoid most secular media. I remember when Hardee’s had particularly raunchy commercials. During football game commercial breaks and the red and yellow star came on screen, there was a mad dash for the remote and changing the channel felt like a massive moral victory. All this avoidance impressed the idea upon me that most media–apart from what I saw–was bad, really bad. 

 

As I grew older and started making more of my own decisions, I opened myself up to different types of entertainment and came to the conclusion that the things my parents protected me from were not as bad as I assumed them to be. I remember thinking the Late Night with David Letterman was just the worst show ever. However, after watching it, I thought, “this isn’t so bad!” That same narrative played out over and over, and I rationalize more things as “this isn’t that bad.” My consumption of questionable entertainment grew as my conscience took a back seat. Living in a culture where movies, music, and social media are readily available, I quickly lost my moral perception of how I entertained myself.

 

I can’t pinpoint the exact time or reason I began to rethink what media I indulged in, but eventually, I did. I began to notice the impurity in the shows I loved. I started to listen to music for its meaning, rather than the beat, and I monitored the amount of time I spent simply being entertained. The verses, “…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” was at the forefront of my mind. After a time of being mindful about what I consumed, I thought about what my parents had tried to teach me. It’s not about avoiding “bad stuff,” it’s about purposefully seeking to glorify God.

 

Media is ever-present in our culture, and it’s hard to know where to draw the line. However, as I further understand that my life should be focused intentionally on seeking God, “the line” becomes clear. Are my actions worthy of imitation (1 Corinthians 1:11)? Is my mind dwelling on things worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)? Does this moment give glory to God? I need to ask myself these questions, because this world will offer me things that simply shouldn’t dwell in the life of a believer. Because of the grace Christ has given me, my heart craves to praise my Savior in all aspects of my life.

 

All that to say, media is not inherently bad. But as Christians, what and how we consume matters. I, for one, firmly believe that three believers living, laughing, and playing Madden together can glorify God.


Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of TeenPact Leadership Schools. To learn more about our Vision & Values, please visit teenpact.com/vision-values/.

About the Author

Jackson Hicks

Hailing from the heart of the south, Jackson Hicks was born and raised in the unblemished perfection that is Steens, Mississippi. With no stoplights… Read More