At university or at church, talking with friends or with family an increasingly common question is this; what have you been watching lately? What have you seen on Netflix recently? Got a series you could recommend?
Before I discuss the sins of entertainment I want to make two quick notes. Firstly, by entertainment I am simply meaning the TV shows, movies, books, theatre and computer games we consume. From these, TV shows and computer games are probably the most common.
Secondly, I want to note that entertainment is not sinful, per se. Entertainment is a good gift of God to be enjoyed but there are a couple main ways in which it, like everything else since the fall, is corrupted and perverted.
The first is with the content itself. Entertainment is distorted and made sinful by the wicked material portrayed. Our favourite shows glorify sin and deliver perverted scenes and images to us as entertainment. We consume this all too readily, watching sex scenes and extreme violence for our normal viewing pleasure.
This is not good. This is a sinful distortion of entertainment, but sadly most shows, movies or games feature this content heavily. We need to be more discerning about what we watch. Watching sex scenes in movies as entertainment doesn’t look like fleeing sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18). Laughing as image-bearers of God are violently killed in gory detail is not honouring God’s good creation.
The second sin of entertainment comes from our own distorted desires and loves. As Romans chapter 1 tells us, at the heart of sin there is an exchange. We exchange God the creator for created things and worship them instead of Him (Rom 1:25). The good things God gave us to enjoy we exalt to ultimate things. This is what many of us do with entertainment.
As Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I think this can be true of our time as well. If Pastor Dave saw your bank statement would he conclude your heart is in entertainment? If he saw a time log of your week, would it reveal entertainment is an idol for you?
As a church let’s be more discerning about how we approach entertainment. Let’s encourage each other to stop finding satisfaction in shows that revel in sin. Let’s keep our hearts from idolatry and not look to entertainment to give us the comfort, peace and security that only God can give. Let’s pursue holiness and righteousness when it comes to entertainment.
AFES Staff Worker - Melbourne University