It is time for us to re-evaluate a position that many have advocated throughout the years. Concerning the content of television shows and movies, the comment has been made again and again, "it's not bad, it just has a lot of violence in it."

Years ago it may have been true that so-called "violent" content was not a big problem. In the old westerns, for instance, there was a lot of shooting, but the bullets seldom found their mark. When they did, there was remarkably little in the way of blood and gore. Fistfights were common, but the participants usually walked away with little more than a bloody nose or lip. The times have certainly changed. The realism of modern cinema is stunning. Now, when violence is depicted, we see it all. Little is left to the imagination, as we see bullets piercing through bodies, bombs exploding, cars disintegrating, and people dying everywhere.

And, what is the result of all this graphically detailed violence in the modern media? Statistics bear out that we have become an increasingly violent society. We hear about the extreme cases of mass murders, school shootings and the like. But more commonly we see the aggression in the everyday conduct of average people. Let someone be even slightly inconvenienced, and you now expect to hear a barrage of curse words and threats.

As Christians, we are only kidding ourselves if we think we are immune to this violent conditioning. We, too, are inclined toward more aggressive behavior because of what we see and hear. When we dismiss this danger and allow ourselves to bombarded with these evil images, we are directly disobeying the command to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). As a consequence, we become less motivated to "live peaceably with all men" (Rom. 12:18).

We are disciples of the One who "when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not" (1 Pet. 2:23). As such, we need to exercise greater discretion about what we watch on TV and in the movies. Think!

By Greg Gwin

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