Your mind has a filter system that processes every thought, action and experience, every day of your life. This system is trained to process life’s ins and outs by some key influencers.
One of these influencers is our entertainment. When we watch television and see real people in real life situations, we program our minds to respond in kind. Each time a similar situation comes into our lives, we will consider all of the options that are pre-recorded in our brains.
So a big question arises from these thoughts: “How do I know what entertainment is right for me?” Let’s take a look at some questions that can help us answer this for us.
Is God glorified by it?
Sometimes this is a difficult question to answer. For many of the movies and television shows that come our way, God is left out of the picture (no pun intended). Characters don’t make reference to God or the Bible. Heroes fight crime, so that must be good, right? If people are killed it is considered wrong and the police always catch them. No one is doing drugs. There’s no intimate sex scenes. Does this question apply?
Some times this question won’t apply. But it is the first place to start. If God is being ridiculed or mocked, or you are programming your mind with actions or thoughts directly contrary to God’s word, drop it. Change the channel. Erase the mp3. What benefit does this have for you? It makes you laugh? You’ve got to be able to find something else to laugh at. It relaxes you? As your physical and emotional guard are slowing down or shutting off, is this really what you want coming at you?
Why am I interested in it?
What draws you into the various television shows, movies, music, or magazines that you are putting into your heart and mind? Our hearts and minds long for to have their needs met, but what are our needs? What are we trying to satisfy?
This opens up a whole world that we normally put away and don’t think about. It reveals our heart condition by revealing what areas of our life are lacking. We also find out if we have tendencies towards programming that could be harmful for our lives and our relationships. What draws you in? What are you trying to satisfy?
Is it sticking?
One of the ways we can tell when our entertainment is affecting us is to see it resurface in other parts of our lives. You can find an example in my life as you go through some of my sermons or writings. Not all the time, but regularly enough, you find I make analogies using the original Star Wars films. It is something that is in me. It stuck. So now when I hear, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” I think of Star Wars. When I hear about the “odds” of something, I hear Han Solo saying, “Never tell me the odds.”
So what about you? What comes up in your mind, sometimes brought on by something else or all on its own? What song lyrics go through your head in the shopping mall, or in the shower? What movie lines can you quote on a whim? Which character’s catch-phrases do you find yourself using at work or with friends and family?
It’s sort of strange when we sit and think about how much of even the vocabulary our daily conversation comes from our entertainment. It really serves to prove the point, doesn’t it? Our entertainment helps to program our minds and hearts.
Can I live without it?
The answer is, “Yes!” But do we live like we can make it without it? Maybe we can’t. For some of us, our entertainment is a true addiction. What does that say about us? We started off with VCRs, and now we have PVR/DVRs. We don’t want to miss anything. At the end of our favorite show, we can’t wait to “stay tuned for scenes from our next episode.” We can even get television and music on demand on our computers, portable devices (i.e. iPods) and even our telephones. Can you live without it? Oh yes. But are you willing to prove it? Hmmm.
These questions are by no means extensive, but hopefully they give you some food for thought.