on following Jesus, tv, and movies: why I watched it all but can't anymore.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2

So many times I've wondered, "what does it mean to be in the world, but not of the world?"

Over and over again as I think and pray about it, I come back to the same idea...we live in the same world as unbelievers, but when we are transformed by Christ, we no longer desire the things the world desires.

In the past few years, I've seen God transforming my life in so very many ways. Oh, it's so crazy to me. I can't take an ounce of credit for it- God has started to change my spirit and give me a different mind than what I used to have, and I have seen Him continue to change my desires from doing what I want to wanting to do what He wants. It's so incredible, and I'm so, so thankful.

But it wasn't because of anything I did. I loved the world. I wanted it all. And He has been so merciful to change me. To keep me from myself.

And one area I particularly loved the world in was watching TV.

I won't lie- this topic makes my knees shaky. TV and movies are near and dear to many people, and I know it's hard to talk about.  I used to be so defensive about it. I have talked about it before and had hard discussions with people in real life, and I know it's something that's tightly held on to in our culture- and it's way down in our hearts.

But like the birth control thing- it's so overlooked...so easily set aside even, yet we can't afford to not give it a thorough look as followers of Jesus.

We are supposed to be in the world, but not of the world.

Oh, sweet friends, one thing I've realized in the past few years is that if I want to live for Jesus, I cannot desire to entertain my soul with filth and sin.

How much of what we watch on tv or in the movies is people pretending to sin?

How much more do we long to watch fictional stories more than we long to spend time with Jesus?

How is what we watch and love any different than what the rest of the world watches and loves?

I used to love watching TV at night after the boys went to bed. Seven years ago, I fell in love with the first episodes of Grey's Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives, and so many other shows that were full of adultery and premarital sex and cheating and lying and oh, how the list goes on. I've watched HBO, I've watched fx, I've watched shows on MTV. And I never missed one of my favorite shows.

I've lived in anticipation of the next racy episode. And I loved every minute of them.

As a believer in Jesus.

It's one of those things you don't realize just how bad it is until you step back farther and farther away from it. I had no idea how far I'd gone.
amazing image from pinterest that made me think all week

how I justified watching it
This is why it's so hard for me to share my tv story: I've been there, and not really that long ago. I remember all the reasons I had to watch them- it was only one or two scenes in the whole episode, and the show was so funny- such a good story... I could handle the innuendoes, the skin... I mean her husband was so mean, anyway...just don't watch that scene, Mandy...I'll close my eyes... etc.

But then each episode over the years I watched had more and more and more of all of it. And I still watched it. Some of the shows got to a point where I couldn't take it anymore- even by my own rules. And some were still bearable...just a little junk here and there.

I always knew deep down that God had no desire for me to watch filth on television. I believe God saved me and placed His Spirit in me at a very young age. It was never a question of it being right, really. I had just shoved the thought so far down as an adult that I wouldn't let it come to the surface because I knew it would make me change my habits- what I watched every week. And I loved my shows. Don't touch my shows.

But Jesus got ahold of me, you guys.

He started showing me who He was, and friends, He is HOLY.

Slowly- very slowly, like over yearsHe has changed my heart about what I fill my eyes and mind with. He started with pulling me back to Him when I was first married with the Bible and giving me the desire to pray and be restored to fellowship with Him like I had been as a young girl.

the quote that opened my eyes
And within a couple of years of Him starting to do all of this in me, I read this article from a godly man named John Piper that made my head jerk up from my tv. Here is what I read so many years ago that made the hair on my arms stand up:

There are, perhaps, a few extraordinary men who can watch action-packed, suspenseful, sexually explicit films and come away more godly. But there are not many. And I am certainly not one of them. 
I have a high tolerance for violence, high tolerance for bad language, and zero tolerance for nudity. There is a reason for these differences. The violence is make-believe. They don’t really mean those bad words. But that lady is really naked, and I am really watching. And somewhere she has a brokenhearted father. 
I’ll put it bluntly. The only nude female body a guy should ever lay his eyes on is his wife’s. The few exceptions include doctors, morticians, and fathers changing diapers. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). What the eyes see really matters. “Everyone who looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Better to gouge your eye than go to hell (verse 29). 
Brothers, that is serious. Really serious. Jesus is violent about this. What we do with our eyes can damn us. One reason is that it is virtually impossible to transition from being entertained by nudity to an act of “beholding the glory of the Lord.” But this means the entire Christian life is threatened by the deadening effects of sexual titillation.
That was when my eyes began to open, and I realized my husband was watching all this on tv with me too. The pretend sex, and the real half-naked women we were watching on primetime television were filling his eyes and mind too, all because I wanted to watch it.

That heart-sickening idea really affected me the most in the beginning, and still affects me close to the most today.

I started to become jealous for my husband's eyes again.

I realized I didn't want my husband looking at another woman- a real naked woman as John Piper said. And that quote, coming from a man who is in my opinion, one of the most godly, biblical preachers I know, made me realize that no man {or woman} is immune to the effect of seeing nakedness and sin.

what is really on my TV screen?
seeing the sin behind it all
I started to see that I couldn't watch people pretending to sin for fun, and then turn around the next morning and try to be like Jesus and come before Him in prayer. My mind was soaking in the world only a few hours before- loving exactly what the world loved.

But oh, how God was so, so very gracious to show this to me. I loved the mud- it was fun to watch. And looking back, I can see how much other sin came into my heart because of watching what I loved and wouldn't let go of.

But the more I read my Bible and prayed, the more God drew me closer to Him. And the less tv I watched, the more even those scenes I could easily watch before started to make me feel sick to my stomach.

And then God showed me this quote again a couple of years later that changed my thinking even more:

“We should not be entertained by the sins for which Christ died.” John MacArthur

And my heart stopped again as that one hit me.

Sin is not funny. Sin is horrid in the sight of God. Sin is not for our entertainment.

Jesus- the Lord of all- had to die for my sin. This sin thing is not a light matter in any way.

People even pretending to kill each other, sleep with each other, cheat on each other, steal from each other- this is not okay. This is hideous.

And my heart hurt even more for what I'd done and loved. And God kept changing my heart. Around a year or two ago, these questions came to me like lightning bolts straight to my heart:

Would I be willing to watch real people actually do what I'm watching on my living room tv? Having sex, doing drugs, committing murder, or stealing?

Would I watch people even pretending to have sex in my house, taking off their clothes, on my living room floor?

Of course not... then why in the WORLD would I watch it on my tv two feet away from my rug then?

Oh, how did I miss this for so long???

finding forgiveness
I wish I could say I hadn't seen all of what I have seen over the years.

I know it was wrong, and that God has forgiven me, and given me so much mercy and opened my eyes to how dangerous sin really is to my heart. It's poison, and it separates me from Him. He doesn't want me to love the things of the world, and His Son had to die for what I did- what I loved to take part of.

Oh, it makes me cry. What anguish I have poured on my Savior with my actions. I loved filling up my eyes and mind with everything that He rescued me from. I was so wicked, and He still loved me so much. Oh I don't understand it- but He didn't leave me when I left Him behind to be in the world. He has changed me when I didn't deserve to be changed.

how God has changed our habits
I'm not saying that I don't watch TV altogether. I haven't made any rules that say all TV is evil {though I do believe almost all of it is}, therefore nothing good can ever come from it, or just this one type of thing is okay. I just wanted to share with you how God has been so gracious to pull me closer to Him and to open my eyes to how much I loved the world and it's evil, and it was happening through my television in my very own living room.

We still go to movies sometimes on dates- we watched The Hobbit not long ago... we don't have cable or satellite, but we have Netflix, and we have Amazon Prime. What we watch on those and how much we watch at all has changed so much over the past few years.  I honestly have less than zero desire to see a movie with any nakedness or sex or filth in it- if it does, we don't want to watch it at all. And we do try to find out before we even turn it on or rent it.

What's really weird is that it makes me feel sick to watch sin now. I'm not perfect, by any means, and of course I still make mistakes, or mess up and sin sometimes, but my reaction to what is on the screen has changed so significantly over the last few years, and I can't say enough- it's not because of me. I can't bear to watch evil things like I could before. I can't stand them, and they make me want to cry.

Sometimes even jokes about sin make me feel sick, and it's not because of what I've learned or anything I've done- it's because of the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I don't want to grieve my God by watching what He has commanded me not to look at or do.

I can take no credit for it, because I loved it before. I enjoyed feeling the same feelings the rest of the world felt watching those shows- the same lust- the same excitement. And I know I would only be watching more increasingly evil things if it weren't for the grace of God. That was already happening in a few short years! What I'm saying is this: people in this world do not grow more holy when left to themselves, and I wouldn't have either.

But God has been so good to me- to open my eyes to what I was watching. It's not about following a law- this rating is okay- that one's not. PG movies have as much sin in them as R movies do sometimes, and sometimes TV-PG has the same as TV-14. Sometimes G movies can be completely anti-God. No rule can cover this kind of thing.

how do we know what is right to watch?
It's not about rules- it's about our hearts. What is good, acceptable, pure, and holy in the sight of God? Who is the source of the only good things? Jesus. His Word. And those are where we have to go to to find the truth.

We can't afford to rely on our own judgment to decide what is good and evil. Our hearts will deceive us every single time. We are a sinful wicked people left on our own. None of us are righteous without the blood of Jesus. And like John Piper said- what we do with our eyes can damn us.

Oh, friend, if you watch tv and movies at all {or read books}, please seek after the heart of God- pray hard and ask Him to reveal what His desire for you is in these areas. You can't make up your own standards for these things. This is so important- if His Spirit lives in you- can you really fill your soul up with pretend {or real} evil and love Him too?

We can't walk in the ways we walked in before we knew Him- He has called us to be holy like He is holy. His blood- His life was paid as a ransom to rescue you from the ways you used to live in:

 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 
1 Peter 1:14-19

Oh, please, please, please consider this.

I love you so very much- I don't want you to go where I did. And as much as I would like to wish this whole subject all away, I can't. We are living in the age of the video. Anything and everything can now easily come into your home... and into your mind. And it's so dangerous to all of our souls.

Please listen to the voice that is whispering in your heart as you watch that screen.

If you have a doubt about a show or your watching habits, please ask the Lord to tell you what He wants you to do. I can't tell you what to do- only He can. Don't be afraid to ask Him. I can promise you life walking closer with Jesus is worth more than any- ANY- TV show or movie out there. You won't miss it if He asks you to leave it behind. I guarantee it.

The world tells us being entertained by sin will fill you up and make you happy. Enjoy it. Be like us.

But Jesus says be in the world, but don't be of it. Don't desire what it desires. Don't love sin. You shall be holy, for I am holy.

Set your eyes on things above, not on the things of the earth.

On which will you set your eyes this week?

Oh, Lord God, break our hearts. Let us not desire sin or even to watch it in pretend. Help us to see what you see, God. Show us what is true. Open our eyes, open our hearts to your Spirit. We want to love you, Jesus, and we desperately need your help as we walk in this culture. Oh, God, please show us how to live for you- to love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In the name of Jesus we ask you for help.

 15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.a 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify themb in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sake I consecrate myself,c that they also may be sanctifiedd in truth.   John 17:15-19

What influences have you noticed movies/tv/fictional novels have had in your life? Have they ever affected your relationship with God?

How have you seen God working in your heart about television and movies? Has what you watch slowly changed over time too? 


Lauren and Johan said...

Thank you so much! Visit pluggedin

Mary said...

i'm with you, sister.
we are constantly getting rid of movies.
God is defintiely changing and purging things from our lives and i'm so thankful!
loved this.
thank you for sharing hard Truth! :)

Philippians 4:8

adrienne said...

awesome awesome post!!! could not agree more. thanks for sharing. i shared your post on FB.

Anonymous said...

I have been waffling on this subject for quite some time, going back and forth between a position of conviction and compromise. Thank you for being so honest and loving about a difficult and touchy subject. I have been helped and challenged by your blog. Thank you.
Jennifer Hunt

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your testimony! I am walking your same path but still don't know what rating of movie is appropriate for a Christian family, any suggestions? And what TV shows do yiu watch?

Angel said...

My TV habits have completely changed the closer I get to God. In fact, I barely watch TV at all most days.

I wait with baited breath for the Duggars to start a new season; their love for the Lord is so pure it makes my heart ache and yearn to be as close to God as they are. I watch their friends the Bates when their show is on {though I keep forgetting to check my DVR to see if they've come back yet}.

As I get closer to God He shows me how to give up the stuff I used to watch. When the nightmares start or I feel an aversion like no other {I *hate* mushrooms and tomatoes; I literally gag at the sight of them} when I feel the same aversion about a TV show as I do certain foods, I know that show is not meant for me.

Other than my love for all things 19 Kids & Counting, I love watching live court trials as I find the law fascinating. I also watch a show called Sister Wives, a real family that are of the FLDS faith. I rarely admit this as I don't want to be judged, but watching them has made me see how others love the Lord in their own way and in their own faith.

Marcia said...

This is one of the BEST blogs I have ever read about this!!! You dealt with it at the root-- our hearts! Isn't it amazing how when you take an evil desire to God and tell Him "But I like it, and you have to change my DESIRES." He actually does it! Praise God! This is so timely! I know so many who think that these things don't matter to God, but they really do as you have outlined so well. God Bless you and your family!!!

Kelly said...

Oh sister! What an amazing and thoughtful (thought-provoking!) post. This is something I have been struggling with recently - and can totally relate to. We MUST protect what we allow into our minds, through our precious eyes. What I like to tell my 15 yr. old: You can't UNSEE something. How important is my example to him by protecting what I watch and see. Conviction, girl. Thank you. May God continue to bless you and you speak truth and share from your heart :) P.S. I hope you don't mind if I borrow this topic for a future post of my own!

Emily said...

God has been working in our family on this, too. A couple months ago, my husband threw away a bunch of our movies because they were full of temptation and blasphemy. While he, like Piper, can handle violence, but not skin, I can't handle violence. Those images stick in my head and disturb me. We decided to have a "no blasphemy" policy. If God's name or the name of Jesus are used in a way that is not honoring, the show or movie gets shut off.
It is fairly easy for us to determine what we, the adults, shouldn't watch, but it's trickier to know about kid shows and movies for our son. We only have Netflix and movies we own or from the library, but the messages are more subtle in kid stuff. Kid books are something I struggle with knowing which ones are okay.
Anyway, if you have any thoughts in that regard, please share.

Anonymous said...

This is so hard to want to follow when your spouse doesn't feel the same way as you...I feel convicted but my husband does not. It only causes fights and resentment when I bring it up, so I usually give in and watch anyway. So I keep praying that God will touch his heart like he's touched mine.

Amy Bennett said...

Mandy, thank you for your soft heart on this. I'm not really sure there is anyone else that could have said it quite like you. TV is definitely an area in which I struggle. Over the years, he really keeps stripping away more and more. Just in the last few weeks, I've just been feeling "icky" about the few shows I still watch and I think this just put me over the edge on letting them go. Thanks for bearing your heart on such a sensitive subject.

Sarah said...

I am wondering what your thoughts are on letting children watch TV and Movies----Educational shows on PBS and Veggie Tales?

Ruth Marie said...

I can so relate to this struggle, but I believe I'm getting the victory as I surrender more of my screen time to Christ. The hardest thing is other Christians telling me that it's okay, and then trying to keep away from what God has called me to avoid, or watching them stare at their iPhones or TVs in fleshly pleasure. I have to remind myself that "good" Christians can do that, God hasn't given them the same strong convictions. It is a privilege to spend more time together instead of the screen. Thank you Mandy! My mom shared this link with me and I think my husband and I are going to eliminate most of the movies from our house.

Imperfectly Me said...

This post was wonderful! Sure I KNOW that some of the things I watch are not what I should be filling my eyes with. But like you, it has taken time to get to this point, and I still have ways to go. I have made a comment the other night to my husband about a scene in a movie we watched. I was appalled at the fact that these 'of age' actors and actresses were portraying teens engaging in sex, drinking and a multitude of other sins. I see it from a mother's view right now, and I am sickened to see all that is surrounding my children. I am learning that it surrounds me as well. Just another way a mother needs to learn how to take care of herself....not to fill her eyes and mind with the junk of the world. Thank you for this post...it was (and is) an encouragement I will be sharing with friends.

Jill said...

Thank you for putting into words what I have been wrestling with for a while now. I'm working through Jen Hatmaker's 'The Seven Experiment' with a wonderful group of ladies. I'd like to share this with them when we get to media. Thank you for sharing and doing so in a very gracious and transparent way.

4littlefergusons said...

What a fantastic post! I just wrote one yesterday on limiting children's tv and media time, as well as keeping it educational or about Jesus. {Guess that might need to apply to the Mommy and Daddy in this home too.}
I gave up Grey's Anatomy several years ago, and when tuning back in recently, was MORTIFIED at how awful it was that I promptly shut it off. I had become so desensitized that I didn't even realize how bad it really was.
My husband has recently stopped watching tv in the evenings {except for the occasional game}, but we don't have cable so even that is limited. Anyhow, our downfall is movie date night on Fridays. We love that time together, but holy cow, have you seen the movies out lately?! There is NOTHING worth watching. I am going to take some time and pray about what I am being asked to do, but I think that is the next thing to be dealt with. Thanks again for this fantastic article!

Anonymous said...

I have struggled with this too. I have no doubt that the TV and movies, as well as video games my husband played, had a major role in the destruction of our marriage. Not just because of the content either. We chose to spend time sitting in front of the television, interacting with imaginary people instead of investing time in each other and our relationship with God.

4littlefergusons said...

Oops, forgot to share the link: What Are We "Feeding" Our Kids? http://4littlefergusons.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/what-are-we-feeding-our-kids/

sara m said...

Very well said! Thank you for sharing your heart. The Lord has changed my views dramatically in the last few years, too. My friends and family do not understand me, but maybe by sharing your version, put so gently and eloquently, my views will be more understandable.

Krystal De Leeuw said...

LOVE this!!! Thanks for shring your heart!!! I've had the same convictions over the years. It all started when Will and Grace first began and ended when Desperate Housewives aired. Some girlfriends and I were having dinner and the conversation led to how prevalent the gay lifestyle was being portrayed on television. I commented that if they didn't want that they shouldn't watch shows like Will and Grace. "But it's just so funny!" was the reply. Fast forward to Desperate Housewives. The show was realtively new and I always ended up watching it alone, since hubby and the kids went to bed by 10pm. I knew it was trash, but it was "fun" trash. One Sunday evening hubby stayed up and watched along. Halfway through the show he looked at me and said, "You really don't need to watch this.". And I knew he was right. We have now been "tv free" for about 9 years. Like you, we still have a television. We just do not have an antennae or cable. We don't even have Netflix. We just have DVDs that we purchase. My kids ages are 16, 14, and 7. Interestingly enough, it's at Christmas time that I really notice that we don't have a tv. My kids never know what to ask for for Chirstmas because they are not bombarded by ads!!

laura said...

I really enjoyed reading this and am feeling challenged on some of the shows i've justified watching. Thanks for this nudge!

Kate Ferguson said...

Great post! Sometimes I get the "you are weird look" from people when I say I don't watch "..." TV show, but I couldn't agree more, even as an adult I am still so impressionable! I love how you said we wouldn't want to watch people in real life sin, like we watch on TV! Great points! We don't have cable, but we do have Netflix, and actually our kids watch more Netflix than we do. But I am curious, what do you enjoy watching?

Joya Towne said...

Great job getting the message across. I totally relate. We gave up satellite a few years ago because there is just too much junk that drew us in..
We have netflix now and we don't watch much tv but we still probably watch too much. My husband has said so many times, "we just need to throw the stupid box out the window"..sometimes I agree. I think we take advantage of the fact that it keeps the kids entertained sometimes while we are trying to get work done. I almost feel ashamed saying that but it's reality. We are striving to keep it to the bare minimum and putting it at the bottom of the list in our home.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who asked what rating is okay? We have walked almost the journey as this blog post, and have come to decid that unless it glorifies God or is educational, it isn't worth our time.

Lesley said...

what an awesome post. I have definitely been through a similar path over the years. I actually got into a big argument with my husband (when we were dating) about this, and I was getting so frustrated to hear him justify why he would watch certain things. I don't say that to bash him, but that I really realized how I was like that, too, and as you said only GOD can make those changes in our hearts. I am pleased to say that he has prayed for guidance and now made his own decision to not watch movies with nudity. I get so bummed when a seemingly good movie has to have a random sex scene that serves absolutely no purpose...and it ruins the movie! ugh. anyway, thanks for being so loving and honest. I feel like you continue to post on extremely relevant topics...and ones that are often overlooked or ignored and it's cool to see so many Christians (including myself!!!) being convicted by them. We love you, Mandy :)

Rachel said...

This is the best article I've ever seen written on this subject!!! I am reminded of the song by Casting Crowns; "Break my heart for what breaks Yours" and also a song by Tal and Acacia, "Garbage in, garbage out, what goes in is found out." Thank you for sharing, I had to share this post!

Angela said...

Oh yes! I am so grateful for this post. I have been on this path myself, but have a few things left I still think I "need" to watch. Now I'm ready to follow Christ and not those shows. Thank you so much for this...
Does anyone have any ideas about how to handle a non-believer husband and watching things together? I want to help lead him to Christ, but I also don't want to make him uncomfortable in his own home...How to deal with that?

Sharon said...

God has been convicting me about this as well. We have made many changes in our tv viewing over the last few years. I have always limited the type of shows my children can watch to guard their hearts and minds but have not been as diligent about myself.

We, too, have Amazon Prime (it expires today) and I'm not renewing it. One Million Moms sent us information on a Kindle commercial that was airing during evening hours on channels kids would watch, promoting homosexual marriages (man and woman were sitting on the beach and each said their husbands were bringing them their drinks.) Until Amazon stops such advertising, I won't renew my Prime Membership.

Have to say I love your blog and really enjoy reading it as much as possible!!


AmberRay said...

I am getting more and more like this as well. I praise God for it! For instance I rented the Breaking Dawn part 2 and I grew uncomfortable with the sex scenes and gore. I felt guilty for watching it, but that is a good thing it means God is renewing my mind more and more.

Ulrika said...

I feel the same way about music. I find it hard to listen to some of the music I used to love now that I've mostly listened to different types of Christian music for a couple of years.

When it comes to tv I still enjoy British crime series like "Morse", "Lewis" and "Midsomer murders" but I can't stand things like CSI or other series that are very explicit and really trying to make the horrible stuff entertainment. After having had a stressful experience with illness and being in the hospital I couldn't even watch the trailers for hospital drama series anymore... So I do think that what and how much you tolerate depends a lot on what you're "fed" and in general disconnecting from your own emotions and experience.

However... I noticed something else in your post - the tiny few words where you wrote that of course you still make mistakes or mess up and sin SOMETIMES. And I'm like... Really? Just SOMETIMES? I get what you mean - that your general desire and taste have changed, which is really all we can hope for. And I don't mean to criticise you specifically by saying this - I hope you understand that. :) It's just that I think we as Christians in general tend to use this expression a lot without giving it much thought "yes of course I still make mistakes SOMETIMES". This is in my opinion where we start to claim to be better than we really are and thus where judgment against other sinners can creep into our hearts. Maybe you are different from me in this. But I could never say - "sure I still sin SOMETIMES". That would imply that most of the time I'm actually pretty much like Jesus. And believe me I'm not. Not even close. In fact I mess up I don't know how many times in a day. We think somewhere around 60.000 thoughts in a day, and we have so many emotions running through us. Mine are not pretty at all I can tell you. I want to live out unselfish love and be a servant and helper and oh how I fail. Oh how many times my tongue slips, but what is equally important - how many times my thoughts and feelings slip. I find that remembering this - that I still slip in thoughts and feelings all the time - makes me more loving and less judgmental against other people when they slip or make choices that I don't agree with. Sometimes people around us sin in an obvious way and it can be so easy and tempting to go "well at least I don't do that" when the truth is that our sin is just as ugly. Get what I mean? :) I hope no one is offended by this - I hope you understand what I am trying to say. :)

Liv said...

What an awesome post. It saddens me more and more when I here followers of Jesus trying to justify their media choices. It's so easy to start to become desensitized to the filth after ever just s short amount of time. A great resource I love before heading to the movies is www.pluggedin.com, it's from Focus on the Family and it gives details of the spiritual, sexual, language, and violence content of movies--helps prevent having to walk out half way through a film.

Anonymous said...

You are so right. I have the hardest time with this because I feel very differently than my husband does. I don't want to appear self-righteous to him, and I don't want it to cause separation. We established a habit of watching a movie together every Saturday night when we first got married. He views it a quality time. I don't know how to stop it without causing major problems. As you said, prayer for a change in his heart is the only answer I see.

Anonymous said...

Men can compartmentalize things. Women can't. This is why women perceive these sorts of issues, especially mediated sexuality, to be a bigger problem than men do.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful blog! I have been praying and feeling very convicted about these same things the past year. I am horrified by what is on TV and do believe that most of America is more greatly influenced by it than they even know. I started feeling like we should get rid of cable (we really only get the main networks) But my husband objected because he likes to be able to watch sports occasionally. I understood that, as sports is one of the few things he likes to watch and he hardly spends any time in front of the TV. Well, the other day, out of nowhere he brought up that he really does not think we need TV anymore and he is feeling convicted about what is on as well! We have also greatly restricted our DVDS and are starting to watch more of the faith based movies and older TV shows. (Courageous, Fireproof, October Baby, Andy Griffith) These kind of movies do entertain us and add value to our lives. I think that is what is missing from most of programming these days, instead of reinforcing family and adding value and fun to shared family time, you feel violated and like your family is being attacked in your own living room. One more thing I want to share. When I was in college one of my best friends got married - they were very young (22) and they had the strength and maturity to go through all of their movie collection and get rid of any movie they owned that had sex or nudity in it. This was a big change for them and she told me that marriage is going to be challenging enough they did not need these things to weaken it and allow temptation into their marriage. Wow. That witness of their life always stuck with me and fast forward ten years, they are one of the happiest couples I know with three beautiful kiddos, and her words a decade ago, helped me think about these things for my own marriage.

Alex and Jill said...

God did the same in my heart just last year. I am not proud of what I allowed in my home through my television but thankful He forgives. I never want to go back to being numb to sin and to what I watch in my home or in theaters. This is one of the reasons we haven't been to a movie in so long...there's nothing decent to see anymore. We watch lots of Food Network and DVDs. :)

Thank you for sharing your heart and testimony.

Anonymous said...

Angel, i am not going to judge you because i got pulled in to sister wives but i got TOTALLY convicted because it is so against what God puts forth in the Bible about marriage...Just because they feel "led" to have 4 wives and umteen children with the 4 wives doesnt make it "ok"..God showed me i have to decern false "biblical" doctrine..and these people go against ANY Biblical Christian Marriage doctrine in the Bible!It really hit me between the eyes and my heart how wrong they were..and the kids..whew i feel very sorry they are being indoctrinated into this belief.Just my opinion based on the Bible and god's ability to convict my spirit....Charlotte

Anonymous said...

This is an area in my life that God has really been dealing with me about!! I am doing so much better BUT need to do better still. Thank you so much for sharing. ~God Bless~

Anonymous said...
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Moments to Remember said...

You, my friend in Christ, have been given the spiritual gift of Discernment. THANK YOU for having the boldness to share your thoughts with the world! I am with you on this!!

A Journey For Life said...

Great post and spoken with so much truth! I am very careful of what my children watch and listen too, and recently the Lord put it on my heart, what about what I watch and I admit I too have certain shows I must watch, but recently I have deleted them from recording on my DVR. The last couple years, I have really took an interest to Christian non-fiction books in addition to Bible studies that I do, and I would rather much spend my time communicating to God through these books I am reading then watch something on tv that has no meaning in my life, except to entertain me. But I haven't given it all up yet, just more aware of how much time I was wasting on senseless tv shows. Thank you for your testimony, writing and sharing it, this will be helpful for so many.

Mandi said...

I just finished reading through the book, "The Hole in our Holiness" by Kevin DeYoung. Fantastic read! You echo so much of what he is saying - only from a womans perspective! It seems in our Christian culture today we excuse the "little things" like garbage on tv, but then wonder where it came from when our kids reenact it or we become like our shows. I appreciate this post and am thankful for it! Too often women who share their convictions like this are labeled as a legalist or just uptight and that's to our shame :( Thank you for sharing TRUTH boldly! And being a voice shouting out for our Lord! I'm with you, sister!

{Alisha} said...

I shared a link to this post on my blog. Hope you don't mind. Thank you for posting! God Bless! :)

TMichelle said...

I don't believe God condemns polygamy at all in scripture. He told the kings of Israel not to take *many* wives and horses etc.. He told David that he had given him wives and if it were not enough He would have given him more. Many Godly men in the Bible had more than one wife. In the New Testament the only reference made to multiple wives was that an elder was to be a man of only one wife. I don't actually see where multiple wives were ever condemned in scripture.

Karli said...

Wow - I couldn't have put it better myself. I've slowly been going through this exact same process...from being the insecure person who wanted to please everyone and not get made fun of, to not caring what man thinks of me because I'm living for such a holy God! Another struggle I have is living with a roommate who doesn't seem to be bothered by what she watches despite being a Christian. I go to my room, shut the door, and turn on my fan so as not to hear the TV and dive into the Word...when I want to be out there watching it too. Praise the Lord for His Holy Spirit's working in our lives. 2 Peter 1:3-4 "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."

Chelsey S. said...

Absolutely heart stopping when I read "We should not be entertained by the sins for which Christ died." This is something that has been on my heart for some time and I have been pushing it down and away. My heart is hurting at the thought of how much I have been pushing God away.

kelli@eatprayreadlove. said...

Hey Urika! I think Mandy might have meant she still sometimes watches the things she's talking about, not "sometimes" sinning in general. She's very honest about her mistakes and how God is changing her!
(and as another blogger, thanks so much for bringing up your concern kindly! not everyone is so generous!)

Anonymous said...

I have got rid of cable in the past year. I found myself never being able to watch shows with the kids around. I didn't even turn on the news around the children. Then I got to thinking, if I can't watch it in front of my kids, why should I watch it when they are not around? I don't miss the TV. Most of it is total trash. Even commercials are bad these days.

Mindy said...

Thank you, Mandy! The Lord has used you to speak with such biblical encouragement in this post!

Ulrika said...

Hi Kelli. Thanks for your input. You're probably right, that she specifically meant this type of sin and not sin in general. And as I mentioned in my comment I didn't mean to criticize Mandy but to just bring awareness to how we express ourselves when it comes to sin and how it can affect our view of ourselves and of those we interact with. :)

Angela ~ Call Her Blessed said...

Thank you for sharing your heart of this topic! I've seen this shared on FB today & seems to be striking a chord, in a good way. My motto concerning tv/books/music/etc is 'garbage in, garbage out'. We have to guard our hearts & hallways of our minds. Blessings~

Anonymous said...

I agree with Piper except he doesn't go far enough.

This statement has no Biblical support: "There are, perhaps, a few extraordinary men who can watch action-packed, suspenseful, sexually explicit films and come away more godly. But there are not many. And I am certainly not one of them." Tell me what godly man is going to watch that kind of film. How can ANY man sin in such a fashion and come away more godly. I don't care how godly he is. He is going to be less godly after such indulgence.

And how can Piper say this...

"I have a high tolerance for violence, high tolerance for bad language, but zero for nudity..." He has a high tolerance for violence and bad language. Really. That doesn't bother him. Those are sinful, too.

That is the problem in our culture. Sin is sin. Some sins have greater consequences. But to okay some sins because they are not as bad as other sins. Have we not learned that what one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.

Most of us growing up in the cultural Christianity of our day, have grown up in religious institutions that has had high tolerance for just about everything. And sadly most people in American churches are just as lost as the people on the outside the meeting house doors. I don't say church because the church is a body of Believers. Since God opened my eyes to what Biblical salvation really is, I have become aware that there is not much difference between those who profess Christianity and those who don't. I can hardly find a church to attend where the young women love like they are posing for soft porn magazines. Another thing that truly grieves me are those young women who can go to a beach and take off all their clothes down to their underwear. Make no mistake, swimsuits are immoral in mixed company. Where is it written in scripture that the presence of water sacntifies a swim suit. You wouldn't wear to the mall or to church, but somehow the beach or swimming pool makes it okay. Do young girls think young men have filters on their eyes when they are on the beach. A woman's body is supposed to create sexual desire... for her husband only. Any woman who can dress in such a way to cause a man to sin with his eyes is just as guilty before God as he is.

I watched a video of a young woman the other night teaching a Bible lesson. She was being critiqued by an ungodly man. But it wasn't her message he had a problem with. He actually agreed with what she said, even though he wasn't a Believer. What he said, was that she was just teaching for attention, to make herself look important. That if she really believed what she was saying, she would cover up her self so she wasn't making men lust after her. Even though he claimed no affinity for Christ, he could see the hypocrisy. Someone claiming to be righteous who was causing others to sin.

I speak with the grief of a mother who let her sons watch things on TV that were mildly questionable. And let them go to swim parties with young women with barely any clothes on. It was no stretch for them to watch the most vulgar things on television when they grew up and feel no shame. The sad truth is that it reveals hearts that do not care for the things of God. The blessing is that God has led me to repentance and I am praying for the hearts of my children to be cleansed so that they hate the things they now love.

I applaud this article. May it cause many to examine themselves in the light of God's Word. He is more Holy than we can imagine. And we are more sinful than we can think. Let's ask Him to purify our hearts so we can stand without regret before Him on that day when He judges the hearts of all men.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse the typos that are so evident now that I have posted.

Angel said...

Though I respect differing opinions, I completely agree with TMichelle.

I never would have watched this show, but I felt conviction in my heart to watch instead of judging them without knowledge of what their life is like. Most of their children don't want multiple wives//husbands, in fact only two of the children want to continue in the practice.

I let God choose what scripture I read and several times I've read about men having multiple wives and never saw any condemnation from Jesus or God. If anything, it made me more accepting of what they stand for and what they believe regardless if it doesn't exactly follow my beliefs.

But it's a matter of opinion and conviction. I know many, many people who don't believe in not using birth control and think Michelle Duggar is nuts for having as many kids as she does...but I fully agree that God gives us what we can handle and He knew she could handle 19 kids and two grandbabies, soon to be three. And it's because of their love for God that I felt convicted to return to God and then I found Mandy and Kayla Aimee and I'm right back to where I was supposed to be. I just needed some helpers on my path and I'm so grateful for these wonderful women of Christ whom I look up to and adore.

Wow, sorry, Mandy. Sometimes I just get too carried away!

Wendy McEntire said...

we do watch tv. but we are very aware of what we watch. i started watching a show last year that was new and by the 3rd or 4th show i had to quit watching it, it went against all of our beliefs, but it did it slowly, not all at once.

Anonymous said...

The Duggar's new season starts tonight!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. Your obedience to the Lord with this post and the work of the Holy Spirit is convicting my heart right now. He has been speaking to me about this subject as well. God bless you many times over!

Mandy said...

Wohoo! :D praising God with you! so awesome to hear from you sweet lady. He is so GOOD! :D

Mandy said...

Oh, thanks for commenting, Marcia! God bless you and yours too!

Mandy said...

Oh absolutely! let me know when you write about it! :D I know having a 9 year old and 7 year old boy is changing my perspective for sure. I don't want them to struggle with sin more than they have to by watching things they shouldn't. I so agree with you!

Mandy said...

oh, I'm so sorry. I know God can take our past and make it new. You're on my heart tonight, friend.

Mandy said...

So awesome y'all have been tv free for so long! i think that is wonderful!! :D thank you so much for sharing your story, Krystal!! Yay for tv-free teenagers! How cool!

Mandy said...

thank you for sharing, girlie! :D

Sadie G said...

Wonderful article! Thank you for being bold in sharing!
One thing that really helped my husband and me change our thinking about things we were viewing/reading is Steve Gallagher's book Intoxicated With Babylon. Great book!!

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time with this one as well. Over the years, I have been more convicted about what I watch and what I waste my time on. My husband, however, views it as entertainment. If it's funny, it's ok to watch. He says he can separate out what's right and what's not. He spends hours sometimes watching things that I feel are very ungodly (not talking porn). It's hard, because it has to become something that HE feels convicted and obeys God about. I can't make that decision for him. Sometimes I do watch movies with him as well that I wouldn't normally watch to spend time with him.

Chelsea said...

I think it's interesting to read comments that say they're frustrated with others justifying their media choices, and other saying that while one person can handle one thing they can't, they can handle another thing that other person can't. I think you hit it on the nose, Mandy, when you said it's an issue of the heart. Sure, there's a lot of media that glorify sin, but there are other shows and movies (that are not necessarily "Christian,") that I believe God can really use that depict the consequences of people's choices, that honestly depict relationships (rather than fantastic and unrealistic ideas,) etc.

Lori said...

As a pastor's wife, I applaud this post! We have counseled so many couples over the last several years because of pornography addictions. You did an amazing job and I say, Amen, Amen and Amen! If we are constantly putting trash in, then trashy thoughts, words and deeds will come back out. Great job!

Anonymous said...

When our children were living home we were very careful about film choices. However, now that we are empty nested, I have become more tolerant of language in films and tv. I rationalize that watching " characters" helps me understand people better. I've been convicted lately also.

JessN said...

SO so so wonderful my friend. I'm guilty. Thanks for making my re-think EVERYTHING! Best post ever. Serious.

Anonymous said...

I could have written this. Thank you so much for affirming, exploring and explaining WHY Christians should steer clear from the sin on tv.

ShannonC said...

I have changed a lot in the past 15 or so years. I am so offended by certain tv, movies and music. Stuff that I used to think was ok, even as a Christian. I am so protective of myself and my family. I grew up watching 3 hours of afternoon soaps, not to mention all the evening ones popular in the 80s. I carried on the soap tradition well into my kids' early elementary years and finally gave them up. Thankfully, my favorite got canceled! I truly believe that only God changed my heart and mind. He's changed me in more ways than just media. I know that I didn't randomly come to these conclusions on what was appropriate for me and not. I can relate, sister!

JennyBC said...

Great post. We have been researching dumping the cable bit trying to figure out sports for all my boys. I would liveif we pull see games on the Internet without the commercials that are usually associated with sporting events. (it's borderline pornography just to see the commercials.).
For the women who are at different places than their husbands, I can only say two things: 1) pray for their hearts to be soft to the conviction of the Lord 2) don't watch yourself but say nothing. I'm at a different place but the gap has closed a lot over the years. I have just chosen not to watch at times but have not cast judgement on my sand. Like Mandy, I knew it was the Lord who delivered me from tv, not anything of my own doing. For my husband to be willing to give up cable is such a big thing. (My offense is the language more than anything but the violence is awful too.). I stand in a place of gratefulness and believe for the more in this area.
I would encourage others to look at books too. I love to read but have totally changed what I read. My background is in medicine and reading thrillers with violence intrigued me at first. I would read to see if they were medically accurate and then I would visualize what happened. I realized my mind did not need to go there or to the scintillating romances either. I miss what's on the best seller list but I know it's for the better. This is all a hard place to walk but I believe so important. We need to have God do a refining work in us.
Mandy you are on a roll. This post and the one from last week about your biggest sin....inspired words. Thank you for your obedience to share with us. Hard places. I pray this earthen vessel is being polished as I bring an one hand and open heart to God. Blessings!

Carrie Scharf said...

Very Well written! Exactly why we got rid of our satellite and only have netflix. Well, that and we're paying lots of money for a bunch of junk :-)

Cecilia Noelle said...

Hope you don't mind I shared this on my own blog (http://amodestfaith.com) within a post, and on my blog's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/amodestfaith)
I absolutely loved this! It was encouraging and convicting, renewing my resolve, and letting me know that I'm not alone in the battle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this awesome post! I have struggled with the garbage we see on TV - turning it off for almost a year. You have encouraged me!

Its just kelly, said...

Thank you so much for your sharing..It is so deep and im blessed to read and to be affirm with it. I guess, evil can caught us in many ways and one of it is thru TV and (worldy) movies and musics too. So, need to be wise in my act and know to discern. :)
Well, i once was an ignorance about what God told me or how He makes me feel about something. But, when i pray about it and humbly follow His lead,(even smtimes i myself dont understand why and i feel that certain thing about what God want or His way is funny, :p in a good way and that makes me smile) i found joy in it as a result, even at first i doubt Him and i feel kinda unhappy. So, God definitely has His way to give us back of what we think we need and we what we have lost.. I think, God only want to take care of us. isnt He awesome.!
A blessing thought and reminder for us, God bless you!

Hayley Kristensen said...

Your post could not have come at a more perfect time! Just last week I shared with the hubs that I felt the Lord leading us to get rid of cable. I thought he would object (we watch a lot of t.v. -eek) but he was all for it. Thank you for reaffirming what I feel the Lord had been putting on my heart. God bless you!

Anna McCrary said...

Wow! I so know where you are coming from...I went through a realization last year with this. I had gone through a class that talked about what you see is what your mind thinks about. I had not realized how bad tv had actually gotten until I took a step back. I grew up on family sitcoms , you know no nudity no cussing. Well this evening I was watching Last Man Standing (thinking it was clean to watch) then the next thing I know the mom dropped the SOB
word. Needless to say if I am not watching the Waltons there seems to be too much of something on a channel that I don't care to watch/hear. Even the children movies are starting to get bad. I guess we will try to stick mainly to veggie tales :)

JoyBelle said...

You know even if you're not a believer - garbage IN, garbage OUT! My momma used to say it and I'd roll my eyes. As I've gotten older (and hopefully wiser?!) I realize just how true it is. Our eyes are the windows to our souls. It's hard to erase the visuals we see on TV and at the movies. It's just common sense that if you fill your mind and your time and your vision with perversion, slander, gossip, sex, idolatry, filth, foul language, etc. it eventually comes out of you. Maybe not in the exact ways we see but it does plant a seed. I think two of the worst things of all to come from this is complacency and desensitization.

We just threw away a ton of Disney DVDs and junk. There's so much junk and there's especially a ton of junk geared toward children in "innocent" kid movies. I don't need to sell it or donate it - I just tossed them in the trash. I will admit I hesitated. I counted up how much money was spent, how much the kids love them, etc. But then one day I took the plunge and said enough was enough. My kids don't need to see bratty, disrespectful children in movies. They don't need to see witchcraft in any form.

This is something we all need to visit and revisit again and again. It is so easy to let a bad day snare us back into that lifestyle.

Oh and another point you made - there is a verse in the Bible that says "Fools mock sin" and I thought it perfect and fitting for this message.

Ulrika said...

I'd like to add my humble opinion about polygamy if that's ok. I think that the basis for man-woman relationship and marriage for us Christians should be according to God's original plan i.e. before Eve was tempted. I heard teaching about this recently and I think it makes the most sense. God made Eve from Adam's side. (Yes, it doesn't actually even say rib, the word used is translated with side everywhere else in the Bible and the word rib dates back to someone theorizing about what part from the side could actually be used to make a "good" woman - the hand could not be used because then she would be meddling with other people's business, not the foot because then she would just be running around everywhere et.c. That image was not what God was going for I think.) So basically God made ONE woman for Adam and together they are whole (they are actually just half a person without each other), and put to look after creation side by side. THEN came the big fall and a lot of things happened that weren't according to God's original plan. Some of these things God doesn't explicitly condemn in Scripture but they are still not the way He originally intended for things to be. So, that's my little contribution to the discussion. :)

Anonymous said...

The only movies that I did not check out on Plugged In first, we ended up regretting not checking and walked out of the movies. There have only been two or three over the years that were not checked out first.

Samantha Shank said...

Upon finding this article on Pinterest, this was not the article I expected. It was much MUCH better! Excellent and completely true!!! Personally, I have a pretty big tolerance for profanity and violence. Sex? None.

Anonymous said...

Your post is awesome & you are beautiful & amazing inside & out!! We do not have cable only an antenna for quite some time now. We only have a few Chi's. I do miss Hallmark & Lifetime for the Godly movies. We love & by Christian movies. Unconditional & Courageous are 2 recent ones and they r awesome & amazing. We highly recommend them! God bless you & your family & all of your followers & posters. :)

Tammy G. said...

I'm SO glad to read your post and the replies...such encouragement! We have gotten ALOT of flak from others because we do not go to movies or watch TV. We do watch a few selected dvd that are christian. Our view has always been, "Why support "Hollywood?" when we do not believe in those ideas.

Anonymous said...

The timing of this post is incredible! Two days ago I was strongly convicted that I was watching really immoral shows on TV. I wrote them off as my "guilty pleasure" but I continued to think about it throughout the day yesterday. Reading this blog post has confirmed the Spirit's gentle prodding in my life. Thank you so much for posting your heart towards this issue!


Mandy said...

Wow! That's a great story! I wish I had been able to do that from the beginning! THank you for sharing your TV faves too- I think it's awesome we DO have great choices we can enjoy and learn from. Thanks for your thoughts!

Sunny Shell said...

Amen! You go girl! ☺

Shay said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this post Mandy!! As a young woman growing up and beginning to make choices on my own, this has really become forefront in my mind and I am so grateful for advice such as yours! Thank-you!

Mandy said...

i was surprised how far that went too! they showed a lot more than i had anticipated! but we ALWAYS watch with remote in hand, and skip thos eparts, should there be any unexpected yuckies!

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, try being the example your spouse needs to see. By going along with him in watching something you feel is inappropriate, you are not showing him that you really mean what you say. Leave the room, or help him choose a better show. There are a few movies out there that you can watch together that will keep up the tradition without compromising your values.

Heather Lawson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Yes! I will definitely let you know :) BTW - I'm sharing some of this with our Wednesday night ladies class tonight. Thanks again!

Lindsey Houck said...

Praise the Lord! I am so grateful to have a sister in Christ who experiences this with me! I feel so alone sometimes. I literally went to a movie with my parents 2 weeks ago and felt those horrible things because of the wretched sin, and after I left the movie I COULDN'T stop crying. It was like I was feeling the heart of God for the sin that entertains so many of His people! I asked forgiveness for even staying during the movie, I should have walked out! Thank you for being obedient to this dear sister! And pray for me that I may be courageous in standing up for what I know is right, and being courageous when the world thinks I'm stupid! This is such a Spirit-filled post. May the Lord bless you tremendously as you walk in obedience to His holiness and will!

Morgan Hagey said...

This rings so so so true. Oh my goodness. SO true. You are spot on. I'm breathless. It's true! We watch very little TV and even fewer movies. I'm pretty sure it won't be long until we've given it all up completely.


TMichelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TMichelle said...

Ulrika, I like your contribution. I tend to think similarly. There is a reason in my mind that God says elders must be the husband of one wife. It is just when people condemn polygamy when God never did that I feel the need to bring scripture into the discussion. Leviticus 18:18 says, "And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive." I believe if it was an anathema for a man to take more than one wife, God would have said, don't take more than one wife, but He states only not to take a sister as a rival. Personally I would not want my husband to take another wife unless she was at least 35 years my senior and loved to cook and clean :D but I think Christians should be aware of what God actually says concerning polygamy. Condemning a practice God doesn't condemn can lead to a lot of heartache if a polygamist is converted to Christianity. With a wrong understanding whole families can be torn apart that God never wanted torn apart.

Rebecca W. said...

Thanks for sharing! I just recently stopped watching a new cable drama after being convicted- I realized I was trying to justify watching it and that any entertainment I got out of it was not worth "putting up with" the language and violence and sensuality. We have Netflix through our computer and I've enjoyed watching old, much cleaner tv series and movies, classics and such, instead of so much of what's on now. Loved the MacArthur and Piper quotes! Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

My tv habits have changed significantly since I had my first child 4 years ago. God worked in my heart and made it so that I can no longer watch many of the things that I used to watch. I joke that in my house we only watch PBS kids and the Create station (and are still very selective about what we watch on those stations!). I used to be a Grey's fan also but felt that I could no longer watch it and have it not effect my life. Scary movies and many action movies are no longer tolerable (although I will still watch a few occasionally with my husband since those are his favorites!). I still have a long way to go, but I know that God is faithful and will continue this amazing work that He has been doing in my life because He loves me too much to leave me where I am! Thank you for your thoughts Mandy!

The Unlikely Homemaker said...

I'm going to try to keep this short...I may end up having to write my own blog post about it! :)
I used to watch the show Lipstick Jungle. I LOVED it. A few successful women(like myself, I thought) who were doing fantastic at their beloved careers, and some even had a husband and children. I used to watch that show, and really want to be them. Or just like them. I wanted to be at the top in my career. I wasn't focusing on my family. Towards the end of the series ( I watched it all the way until it was canceled)I started feeling a little guilty watching it, because of the lack of morals, and the careless ways some of the wives treated their husbands. When the show ended, I didn't miss it. I very slowly (I mean very, very slowly) started filtering what I watched. It started with movies, because those were more graphic. And I had just became aware of the whole men are visual thing. Anyway, eventually I sold all of my beloved books. I only say beloved because I am a book lover...truthfully, they were trash. V.C. Andrews, Danielle Steele...I had been reading these books since I was in middle school! Once I was convicted by the fact that what I was reading was not only wrong, but could potentially be hurting my marriage, I boxed up all the books that fell into "that" category, and took them to the Goodwill.

I do have to admit, I have one show. And I am just not ready to give it up yet. Once Upon A Time :0)

Now...I have considered canceling cable for a few months now. Too much trash is allowed on T.V. that I do not want my kids to see (or my husband!). My problem is, my husband is a t.v. man all the way. He can sit and watch hours of t.v. and not think anything of it. What then? I am praying hard that something God can give him the same convictions as me, hopefully before I just up and cancel cable, and get rid of the t.v. :)

PS. I realize this is LONG...but didn't even touch on a real response to your post. Your post was fantastic, and I needed it. Thank you for being His voice.

Cassandra said...

Thank you for sharing on this topic, it is so needed in our media-obsessed culture. I'm with you. We chose to get rid of the TV altogether several years ago and have never looked back, sister! :) Cassandra @ www.theunpluggedfamily.com xo

Mandy said...

Thank you for your sweet words and genuine thoughts, Jennifer! So good to know I'm not alone! :D I'm so glad you've been encouraged! I love hearing from you!

Anonymous said...

i'm sitting here reading and tears are filling my eyes. we got rid of our tv and cable almost 1.5years ago and it was such a change in our lives. it was so difficult for months. we didn't know what to occupy our free time with. then we learned of netflix and other websites we can still "catch up" on our shows. But after reading ur post I feel that GOd has spoken to me to stop watching the shows that are filled w sin, the violence, the immorality. I justified myself and felt proud when I would tell ppl we don't have cable or tv anymore. I secretly thought to myself I was better then those who had a tv. But yet I just realized I was still watching that sin on my computer screen. this has defiantly made me realize so much and I thank u for sharing. It makes me want to go stand on my knees and pray for forgiveness. but Praise God that HE has opened my eyes. GOd bless u.

Stephanie said...

Mandy, this is so well put! Thank you! I have had a very similar experience with entertainment lately. I really enjoyed the quotes that you shared and feel 100% the same way about the idea that if something portrayed was actually happening, would we be okay with it? More often than not, the answer would always be NO! And yet day after day we welcome it into our homes. So deceptive and so destructive! I used to LOVE desperate housewives and that is such a great example. It was fun and intriguing but at the end of the day it is a really dark show!

Who needs it when we have the love of Jesus? Nothing can compare. Happy to leave these kinds of shows and movies behind.

Kandi said...

Whew, girl, I know this was a tough one to write - people are very touchy about their tv & movies, but thanks for saying it anyway. We too, enjoy our adult time together after the kids go to bed, and sometimes it feels hard to give that up - thanks for the reminder that's it's not about us, it's about God in us - I know from experience that when you submit to Him, He will literally transform your desires - you can't even believe you wanted that before. Thank you for being bold enough to write this!


Missy said...

Wow! Great post and I'm glad to see so many positive responses. Because of a financial situation several years ago we were forced to turn off satellite. I was so glad (had been wanting to do so for a long time) and we've been so much better off without it. Our children were young and are now teens and they could care less about the junk most young people watch and talk about. We do pick up a couple of PBS stations, but are extremely selective about what we watch on them. We like to see shows that we can learn something useful from, and that is mainly what we watch on our limited TV channels.

We are also very selective about what we check out from the library or watch on Amazon. We watch old movies and TV shows, but still have discovered that we must filter those as well. Just because they were made a long time ago doesn't mean they are good. =)

We don't go to the movies because it is rare that there is anything of value on at the movies. I think the last movie we saw in a theater was October Baby, and we went to that to show support for a Christian Film with a message that life is precious.

I agree with others who have commented here that books can also be a problem. Many books today are filled with darkness - vampires, witches, zombies, etc. We are commanded to walk in the light, not in darkness (see Ephesians 5 - If you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord you have been set free from darkness.)

I have learned that we really need to filter any information that comes our way - what we read, watch, and listen to (including music) - because it all comes with a worldview. If the worldview is Biblical truth then that is good, but most of it is not of a Biblical worldview. To know the difference we need to study the Bible, and pray for wisdom and discernment; then pray for courage to do what is right even if it is difficult.

Some verses of Scripture that apply:

Philippians 4:8 "Finally bothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable - if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise - dwell on these things." These are the things God wants us to think on - the information we put into our brain will be what we think about, so if we want to think on what God says is good we have to filter what we allow into our hearts/minds.

Proverbs 4:23 "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life."

Proverbs 8:13 "To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech."

Psalm 101 is about integrity, and verse 3 is especially applicable:

"I will not set anything worthless* before my eyes.
I hate the practice of transgression;
it will not cling to me."

*some translations say "wicked" instead of worthless

I am happy to see though that there are many people who are producing Christian films now. Our culture definitely needs them and so do we. Also, there are a lot of great Christian books out there for adults and children. We just need to dig in and search out the good books and movies and leave the rest to the trash heap.

Thanks so much for posting this. It is good to see that others have a heart for righteousness and that God is at work in His people. I pray He shows us more and more how to walk in righteousness so we can be a light for those who are still in darkness.

Desiree said...

Yes. Amen.
I used to be a reality show addict. To this day, if I am visiting someone and they are watching "The Bachelor" or some other show I used to love, I find myself tempted to get sucked in again by watching with them for just a few minutes. It's so addicting. And like most addictions, it always left me unsatisfied and waiting for my next "fix." I heard the Holy Spirit gently trying to warn me that I was making bad choices with my free time by consuming the garbage. But I was stubborn, and I ended up having to reap the consequences for my willful disobedience. We have not had cable in 4 years and rarely watch movies.(Like you we do have Netflix, but we are thinking about cancelling it because it's becoming a "babysitter" to our 5 year old) And the craziest thing happened: We've grown ever closer to God, and He's been faithful to clean out the junk in us that accumulated as a result of our entertainment choices. He's a good, good Daddy.
Thank you for this post. I love how you tackled a topic that many will defend to their death because their shows are so dear to their heart. We've been there, we can relate. But like you said, as Christians we cannot just let this go without at least considering the cost.
In this world but not of it = do not conform. Romans 12:1-2 are words always on my heart as we face persecution and ridicule for standing up for righteousness in love.
I love all your points in this and I want to encourage you to never back down. Your boldness is encouraging, refreshing, and much needed today.

jeana said...

I completely relate to everything you said. We have Netflix and amazon prime only as well, but it seems I've slowly been letting some of the bad stuff back in. I didn't realize it until last night when we turned on a movie and it started out so crude. I couldn't even watch 10 minutes. I'm so glad I read you post today. I think God is speaking to me through you!

Kimberly Helton said...

I'm really glad I stumbled on this post (from pinterest) I am having a difficult time right now with certain material that can be viewed on a tv but was viewed on a computer. I feel like I am not good enough, unwanted, and even used up no good toss to the side trash. I have cried and cried. I've tried explaining how badly I'm hurt but then I feel like a hypocrite because of shows that we watch together. All I know is I don't want my daughters to feel this way. Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful that someone has finally been able to portray what my family & I have been doing the past 2 years.

We had let ourselves become conformed to the world. We watched anything and everything we felt drawn to. It nearly ruined my marriage, it opened up a path of destruction for my husband who didn't stand a chance with the type of garbage that we let in the house.

I am so thankful that God opened our eyes to what we had allowed into our life and changed our hearts to toss the junk! People think we aren't fun anymore or that we take it too far, and that it's ridiculous, because they don't understand that there is more joy found in what God has to offer than the world.

Thank you for this article, I'm sharing it with those who have wondered why we took such drastic measures in cutting cable and our film collection.

The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary said...

I am so pleased I came across this. It is confirmation for me, I just wrote about something similar. Thank you. Have a blessed weekend. Tara.

KittyJo said...

Mandy, I am so glad I ran across this post "by accident" while looking for one of your other ones.
I was raised in a too-strict, legalistically religious home where almost everything was a sin and God was much less about love or grace than He was about perfection and standards. I knew it wasn't right, but it was imbedded in my mind from birth as being truth. When I got older, after going out into the world for a season, I started seeking God for Who He really is and trying to find His will for my life. I struggled with my almost cult-ish upbringing so much that at one point, I remember praying, "Lord, I don't know if what I was raised to believe is YOUR Truth or just man's traditions passed down from generation to generation, but I want to follow Your will. So I am going to continue doing what I'm doing (which was going against all the religious standards)and anything I am doing that isn't pleasing to You, I want You to let me know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it's You." I was fully expecting that He was going to tell me that I can't cut my hair anymore, or wear pants, etc. He actually didn't tell me anything... I just slowly started noticing a distaste for the Harlequin books I used to devour, I started getting agitated with the 'other' genres of music, and most of the TV shows I usually watched started boring me. At first I didn't even notice... but pretty soon, I realized that no matter what I took in, if it didn't feed my spirit, it didn't satisfy me. I had started to "delight myself in the Lord", and He started giving me the desires for the things He wanted in my heart. God had effectively removed all of those types of things from my life without leaving that empty spot that comes with "you can't have that!"
That was 15 or so years ago... Over time, as my kids were growing up and life happened, I gradually drifted away from that somewhat. Not completely, mind you... I was still more cautious about what we watched than my other Christian friends were, but that didn't justify me before Christ. I tried to set rules of "If it isn't a Christian program, or at least educational, then we won't watch it.", or "we're not going to watch anything that Jesus couldn't sit down on the couch and watch with us", but rules get fractured, then cracked, and finally they are completely broken.
My son is strongly influenced by my opinions and actions, and his favorite shows, like mine, are the crime shows... Criminal Minds, NCIS, Law & Order SVU, etc. Not long ago, I realized how far I have slipped when we watched an episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger" and saw how almost laughably mild that show was compared to what we have been watching over the past year.
God has been bringing me slowly back to where He did 15 years ago, and this post was exactly what I needed to boost me into actively teaching my family WHY we should be more careful. What caught my attention was when you talked about allowing people to come in and do, or even pretend to do right here in our living room what we so easily watch them do on TV. We have become SO desensitized! It used to be a horrifying thing to watch someone be killed on a TV show and we'd have flashbacks and nightmares from it. Now, we can sit and watch it while we're eating and never even flinch. God, help us to regain our sensitivity!
From now on, we will be listening to way more podcasts from favorite preachers, watching them on the Christian channels, and watching more of the decent cable TV shows like:
"Who Do You Think You Are?" (which is a genealogy related show)
"What Not To Wear"
"House Hunters"
"How it's Made"
cooking shows
treasure hunting shows
Animal Planet, etc.

Again... Thank you so much for posting this! I will be reading it to my family and sharing it on FB and Pinterest!!

Wendy and Spencer said...

I find it wonderful to find someone with similar views on media! We are Mormon and several years ago I think it was 2008 my husband heard this talk from one of our church leaders-


Specifically this quote:

"These dangerous traps are only a mouse click away. Pornography, violence, intolerance, and ungodliness destroy families, marriages, and individual lives. These dangers are distributed through many media, including magazines, books, television, movies, and music, as well as the Internet. The Lord will help you to recognize and avoid those evils. It is the early recognition of danger and a clear course correction that will keep you in the light of the gospel. Minor decisions can lead to major consequences."

We talked about it and decided to radically change our media habits. We always have avoided immorality on screen but now even avoid immodesty and violent shows. It was hard for a few months as fun looking movies and shows came out but now we can honestly say we don't even miss it! I know this will help our family stay strong. and the spirit will be welcome in our home.

Thank you for your post!

Wendy Crabtree


shoestringmommy said...

I just wanted to say a quick thank you. This has been a bone of contention in our house for some time now as my husband has thought that maybe I was a little too rigid in what I allowed the kids to watch and what I watched myself but after reading the men that you quoted....I think it may have gotten through. Pray that it does because I would love to have movie nights with my husband again.
I love you blog. You don't shy away from the issues and while I admit at first that put me off a bit I find that I enjoy it now. It makes me examine things and work harder to make time for God and get closer to him. Keep up the amazing work!

Anonymous said...

This has been on my heart lately so how funny that I would find this while reading another one of your posts! I have stopped watching a lot of what I used to as well as listening to what I used to because I can no longer get through it with out feeling bad and being distracted by the sin I see/hear. Its no longer enjoyable like it was before my walk with Jesus the past couple of years. But, I still do struggle with watching things I know aren't good..in particular all of the Real Housewives reality series! I even mentioned to my husband the other day that as my 1 yr.old and future littles come a long I won't watch because i don't want them to see me watching that junk, and that later on we shouldn't have satellite. He agreed. Then the little voice- why wait to stop watching? why is it ok now, knowing I wouldnt' want them to see or know I watch that? Please pray for me and for my husband as well, he listens to what I feel is inappropriate music with foul language when he is driving alone. Thank you for all your posts. I was not raised in a "religious" home and your blog really helps with my walk as well as ideas of how to parent children who I want to do the same.

becauseofHim said...

This article spoke directly to my heart. Thank you for your encouraging, Biblical wisdom. : )

DivaFeva said...

Wow, I feel like God had been speaking this message into my heart too, I just had a hard time hearing it. I LOVE tv. A couple of years ago I was really into Sons of Anarchy, Dexter and then more recently The Following. My coworkers and I would debrief the day after at work. Overtime I just stopped watching, the violence really started getting to me. My coworkers didn't get it and I felt stupid saying that it was too violent for me. I still watch a lot of TV but it wasn't me who changed me heart, I am understanding that more and more. Honestly I haven't even touched the thought of nudity/sex, I will now. Thanks for an honest piece, I just wanted to let you know that I get it.

Michele Walsh said...

AWESOME post Sweet Mandy!!!! This is something that I have been struggling with for a while now and feel that God has answered me in your post. For me watching t.v. is one thing but the area I am struggling with is what I read...I feel this is worse because when I read I have to create a mental image and if it isn't in accordance with God then it is worse for me because I remember more what I have read than what I watch...does that make sense? I hope so. I struggle with explaining what is on my heart but I hope you get my point. This was well written!! Thank you for sharing :D

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, I pretty much stalk you and LOVE your input. :) Also, You have a VERY distracting AD that appears on your page called "League of Angels" that I am not sure that you are aware of or can do anything about... however, its basically animeporn and some busty woman rubbing her wet body in a very skimpy thonged swimsuit which I can only ASSUME is a link you would want to look into. :) Just a heads up as I cannot find a way to email you directly. It appears on every blog entry on the right, maybe the third or so from the bottom, also at the VERY bottom right below this comment section.

Be blessed! Love your stuff!

Anonymous said...

God has been convicting my heart of this very thing! I've stopped watching a few shows because of this and I've recently stopped watching my shows after my husband pointed out "All this show is is people doing it." :/

Lindy Johnson said...

Thank you for your post! I wish we would all open up about our "secret" sins as you have. I believe it will be an encouragement to others!
I not only have a problem with the filth on tv, but with the amount of time we spend watching television. Even if we find good, wholesome television, is it really edifying? Just because it doesn't curse or have bad scenes, does that mean we should watch it? The time it takes us away from our families can be harmful. Even Christian love movies can create an expectation for our husbands. May we all pray and seek God to not do what just isn't "evil", but what is edifying to His Kingdom!

Anonymous said...

I too have experienced what you have been going through....quite a few years ago..I was hooked...let me tell you...but by the grace of God I was able to eventually let go of it and actually have no desire to go back!! My husband has huge standards now too which I know has helped me along this path. I still have to guard my heart against spending too much time on social media!

123Mommy said...

I have been pulled in this same direction the past few years. My husband is very against looking at nudity, he covers his eyes if there ever is a scene of it which I always Loved about him! But it is still all of the other sins that I would love for him to also see in this light. I think I will share this with him and let it move him :) Very inspirational post! I use http://www.pluggedin.com/ and http://www.gqkidz.org/parents/review/index.php

katy said...

Loved loved loved reading this!!! Ive gotten some funny looks for not having cable, but I know that God is pleased with that decision! Oh be careful little ears and eyes! : )

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece! It was brave of you to tackle this. It is a touchy subject for many. I have felt this way for a very long time, but rarely hear anyone talk about it. OnMedia is another good source for content info, if you can't find what you are looking for on PluggedIn

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing so honestly about this topic. God has been convicting me of such things with tv also and I love the mental perspective and quotes you state. We all need to pray and reevaluate, it's like a frog in water. If you put a frog in water and heat it up it doesn't notice the water is killing him while the water slowly heats up to burning. If you put a frog in already burning hot water he will jump out due to the heat. We have all been to condition to the change of the world due to it's slow nature and we just accept the little thinking it's not much but if you look back it's scary what is accepted as normal and ok now. We need to keep our eyes on God and be his example of God in us not the world.

God Bless You!!


Snugglebug Blessings said...

In my house my son who is now 13 plays violent video games where they kill, mutilate and stab the aliens or zombies to death. He also plays army games too with guns, shooting the enemy and so forth. I have been so convicted and know these are not good for him. God has also, been convicting me of watching TV especially because of the horrid commercials that come on. Demon possession, explicit love scenes, Victoria secret commercials. Dear heavens commercials are worse than the shows. After reading this I know it is time to revamp what I watch and start making more to time to grow in the Lord through videos that I can watch on line or read at night instead of veg out in front of the TV. So now I am sitting down with my son tonight and talking to him about the games and share some of what I read on here, God's scriptures and what really hit me from reading this is I am "teaching my son the art of murder" and that it is ok to pretend to sin not really do it. It is filling his mind with horrific murderous thoughts and I can no longer stand by and condone this anymore. I won't be the good guy right now but the bad guy. Thats ok cause I know our heavenly Father will be happy my son is being taught the right way even if it has been going on for too long. God please forgive me. Thank you for sharing!

Kim Morrow said...

I just recently discovered your blog and have been devouring post after post--so powerful and encouraging! This post, in particular, challenged me in an area that I've felt God working on for a while. Then, after what I heard took place at the Grammy Awards last night, God put on my heart an urgency to stand up for my faith, my family and the word of life we hold so dear. I wrote about it here and wanted to share and invite you to read it sometime:


This post you wrote last March was a definite positive influence in shaping the words God gave me this morning, and I want to thank you for that! :)

Anonymous said...

I find men frequently use this as their excuse to justify their actions & women are looked down upon as weaker or too emotional because they can't "handle" it. I went and read John Piper's whole article because I didn't quite agree with all (I don't believe for a second that a Christian can walk away more godly after watching such filth and if it were remotely possible that a Christian was godly enough to "handle" it the odds are he is also godly enough to not want to watch it or is too busy about the things of God & spending time with God to watch it) the comments that were excerpted until I saw his heart better from reading the whole article. It is not actually a man vs a woman issue it is a God vs sin issue. As a Christian we are not to compartmentalize God. That is sinful! If He dwells within us, He is there with us watching too isn't He? God isn't just in church or when we say our prayers. God's Word needs to be a part of everything we say or do including watching tv. I love how Mandy talks about how we watch and take pleasure in the very same sinful things that Jesus died for! We are to hate the things that God hates and love the things that God loves. Nudity is still nudity, violence in the form of entertainment although not "real" still desensitizes us to the sanctity of human life, and taking God's name in vain is still disrespectful and sinful to God whether a person is saying a script or speaking it for themselves. Violence, immorality, swear words, vulgarity, etc. - how does that edify one another or glorify God? Phil. 4:8 The more often I hear such things the more likely it will come my mind, which leads to my thinking it or even possibly saying it myself. What goes in is what comes out.
Thank you Mandy for sharing your heart! This is very relevant and much needed. This is something God has been speaking to me about for awhile and while I try to limit the shows to mostly Christian (love SMILE of a child network) & educational, there are still a lot of humanism, occultism or just plain ungodly views snuck in.

Anonymous said...

That ad does not pop up on my computer and probably doesn't on Mandy's either so she wouldn't know what you are talking about. Im guessing it has more to do with your computer than with her blog. Most of these ads are now based on the history of what has been viewed on your computer and then it shows ads on what they think you might also like.

Anonymous said...

God has been convicting me even further of how Satan is working. So often we are caught up in the aspects of which show is good or bad or what rating is deemed most godly when in reality Satan's biggest trick is that he is keeping us soo busy being entertained (whether by video games, tv, movies, cell phones, books, internet, tablets/ipads, etc) that we are being entertained to death whether personally- spiritually, emotionally, mentally, & sometimes even physically or even with our relationships.-family, friends, others. Is this entertainment keeping me from spending time with God? Can I be building a better relationship with my kids or husband if we actually talked and interacted and kept these devices off? Could we take a family walk or bike ride instead? Instead of watching a movie for date night with the spouse why not do a Bible study together instead? Could we be a better witness off our couch? Am I so busy entertaining myself that I no longer have time to serve others? When I look back at the next 10 years will I be disgusted that the only thing I have to show for my time is the knowledge of some shows no longer on the air or I that I beat a video game/Candy Crush? We don't know how much time we have left here on this earth, how are we are we using this time to make an impact for Christ and glorify Him?

Anonymous said...

This post is great. I am a bit grieved at the idea that you didn't speak much about foul language. I feel like my convictions about it make me so isolated. I was just speaking to my husband about it tonight (which is what led me here), I would never let someone come and curse in my house, how do I allow it on my TV? I wish more people felt this way...

sofia grant said...

I think the biggest problem with watching Sister Wives is that they do not have the same Jesus and God as Christians. It can confuse your own Christian walk. It will also make it harder to witness to those of their faith. You say you are more accepting of them and while they are sincere they will end up in hell. We must warn them. To accept them is really to do them a disservice. Remember Jesus told us He is the only way to heaven (John 14:6) The Bible has the answers we need. Praying for you. Sofia

Amanda Yandell said...

What an incredible message you are trumpeting out!!! Keep shining! This is so timely for me and my family! Thank you! What an awesome testimony! Blessings to you Sister in Christ!!