Entertainment Value – What Movies Should Christians Watch?

31 Comments October 13, 2012 in Christian Life, Personal and Teen Girls

I used to watch movies with any rating not ‘R’. Then the Lord really worked on my heart, and I decided to not watch anything more than a G – or PG if I had good reason.

Deciding what to watch

I kept it that way for years and years. I watched kids movies, Christian movies, some great Feature Family Films, and so on. But I stuck to my guns. I had my values and I was not going to lower them for anything!

Until the G movies started having so much occultic content I couldn’t watch many of them either. Then End of the Spear, rated ‘R’, came out. So much violence, but its true story communicated such a God-honoring faith message – it was well worth watching.

Over the years since then I’ve been evaluating my reasons for watching one thing and not another.

Entertainment Value - Carla Anne Coroy - Movie Ratings Chart

Rely on the rating?

On the weekend of Oct. 6th, my husband showed me a preview for a PG movie he’d reviewed in hopes the movie might be appropriate for the family. The movie is called Pitch Perfect, and my husband wasn’t at all impressed.

Now I have only seen the trailer. But I can tell you this… there was more sexual innuendo in that trailer than I want to see in most full-length movies. It was over-the-top! At one point in the trailer there are two women and one man standing in the shower together… naked. You can only see the man from the waist up, and the girls from the shoulders up, but it’s quite clear they are naked. One of them even mentions it. But this is rated ‘PG’. I couldn’t believe it!

Although ratings are a good guideline in so many cases, the trouble with ratings is that the people rating them have no clue what I believe and what I think is appropriate for children, much less for children I’m trying to train in holy living.

So why do I… why do we all… put so much stock in ratings?

Going beyond the rating

These days I find it’s best not to rely on the rating.

Instead, I’m trying to look at the overall message. What is being portrayed? When the movie is over, will I be more encouraged to keep on keeping on in my walk with Christ? To live a holy life? To love those God calls us to love? Or will I be dissatisfied with my husband? Will I covet the gorgeous homes or be discontent with my house and yard and the 15 year old vehicles we drive?

I ask questions like… who is getting the glory in this movie? Would Jesus be okay with me watching this video – because it is His Spirit in me that I am bringing with me to the show. Would He walk out?

These questions have led me to watch a few movies that wouldn’t have come close to falling within my old ‘safe’ rating level. They are perhaps PG-13 or even R. But the stories they tell bring out the faith in God that someone has, or remind me that God has used some small people to do mighty things. Some even tell the Gospel story blatantly – using the Scriptures themselves – in the midst of real-life obstacles.

I admit that there is one kind of movie I have grown to love and it is far outside my old “safety” rating system. My husband doesn’t enjoy them so much! But I love them.

They are full of bad language, even crude joking. That is the setting in which every story takes place. The environment never changes.

But God changes people’s hearts in the midst of that. In one movie, a druggie gives her life to Jesus after years and years on the street, separated from her husband and kids. In another, a prostitute finds real love in Jesus, and a man who resembles Him. Yet another shows one prisoner leading another one to Christ, telling the Gospel story more clearly than most pastors can communicate it, and leading her in a prayer of salvation that she repeats after. That beautiful scene ends with the prisoner singing Jesus Loves Me in a rich, beautiful, melodic solo delivered in distinctive black gospel style.

On the other hand I’ve seen a lot of pointless ‘G’ rated movies. They’ve been a waste of time. They’ve added no value to my day.

Choosing to Honor God

Now I am willing to at least consider movies with “higher” ratings, especially those with biblical values in real-world settings.

Jesus walked among the prostitutes. He saw their mini-skirts, and their low-cut tops. He walked down the alley where guys hid to snort their drugs, and He saw their tracks and their glazed eyes. He heard their lies.

Jesus walked with those who swore like sailors, had dinner with thieves, and saw the pain in the eyes of wives whose husbands beat them.

Let’s face it. It was THIS earth that Jesus walked on, not some pure and holy beautified planet we’ve never known. Yet in the midst of this all He brought truth, and grace, and hope, and healing, and life.

Entertainment Value - Carla Anne Coroy - Entertainment Value Question Marks Image

Too often Christians refuse to watch the movies with violence and bad language because they irritate our sensitivities. We are so stuck on being pure and holy we are no longer engaged with this world! The trouble is, if we are not engaged with this world then we are not where Jesus wants us to be!

He went back to sit at the right hand of the Father. He left us here to do what He would do. He gave us His Holy Spirit to help us know what those things are.

Perhaps if we watched a little more Madea (yes those are the ones I really like) we’d be able to see how to bring Jesus with us.

Into the workplace where the girls swear like sailors, or the boss is hitting on all the girls. Or to our family gatherings where a woman needs shelter from an abusive husband.

Maybe we need to get off our high horse and say yes to the things that move us to honor God and motivate us to emulate Him. We’ve become complacent and silent in our messy, ‘R’ rated world.

While we’re doing that, we can also say no to those films that gratify the flesh, that raise up sinful images in our minds that linger days and weeks after the credits roll, that blaspheme our God, and that glorify anything that stands in the way of worshiping the One True God.

Because if we do that, then perhaps, finally, our entertainment might once again have value.

Take time to let us know

  • How do you determine what movies are okay to watch?
  • Do you agree that a redemptive message in a high rated movie is better than a G or family rated movie with messaging that’s just fluff?
  • What do you think of of my statement that we’ve become complacent and silent in our ‘R’ rated world?

I love to hear from you, whether you agree with me or not! Please do join the conversation!

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