The Christian who strives for holiness may have questions on some issues which the many do not really care about. I have also asked myself the question on whether watching circular television channels and its programs is sin or not a number of times, particularly because many visionaries have cited television as a tool that the devil uses to kill many in their spiritual walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The one thing we all should note is that whatever is sin before God, it is equally abominable to God whether it is committed by Christians or non-Christians. I mention this because often people would say statements like, ‘if you are not a Christian you are free to do as you like’. Everybody is called to live according to God’s commandments, there is no exception. Therefore, the subject on non-Christian television programmes is for everyone.
First, let’s consider the influence from watching television.
The influence of television
Before I delve into what the bible says about what we see and how it affects our lives, I want to reflect on what others have said about the influence of televisions to people. According to onlineessay.com, I quote:
‘Television is a form of media that has great ability to influence and brainwash the viewing public. The talking box in one’s living room has assumed the overpowering role it plays today as a result of the weakness of society. This may seem like a negative view but a society’s strength is based on the relationships between people and when so much time is spent away from others and together with the media, the actions that take place are often times a reflection of what television presents. …. The overwhelming influence of the media is a constant threat to the maintenance of traditional family values and to the protection of our children’s future. Nevertheless, television cannot be changed for it is too big and powerful but compromises can be made that can strengthen society and help keep certain values protected.’
I could go on and quote a number of articles and reports on the subject and all would point to the fact that television has formed a great part of our lives today. What one likes watching the most influences the way that person takes decisions, speaks and do things. This could even go to the point of influencing the religion a person chooses.
The type of Content
Television content is not all wrong but there is some of it that totally goes against Christian living. As highlighted in the previous section, a Christian could be influenced to be casual on sin and even to the point of converting to another religion by what he or she likes watching. It is a given that the devil sends his spirits into the viewers of some of the programmes that are played on television. This cuts across all viewer ages, i.e. from cartoons to adult movies.
The most obvious content that influences sexual immorality is pornographic content. Christians that watch such material get their spiritual relationship with Christ affected. Pornographic material goes into music, movies, documentaries, etc. The same applies for content that shoots down Christianity.
When talking about television, we cannot overlook the power of video clips and programmes that are shared online and across all social media platforms. Of notable magnitude is the YouTube channel which is rated the second most popular URL online on Google.
The power of what we see / view (Psalm 101:3; Matthew 6:22 – 23)
David of old in Psalm 101:3 said that he had decided not to set no worthless thing before his eyes. This is a mouthful to the believer. I understand this to mean that anything that does not edify, that disgraces the works of God and His Word is not worth watching. Anything that mocks Christianity and targets to disproves who God is not worth watching.
In the Gospel of Matthew 6:22 – 23, Jesus talks about the eye as the lamp of the body. Jesus says that if the eye is sound – I have no other thought into what this could mean other than what the eye is allowed to see – your entire body will be full of light. Similarly, if the eye is unsound – allowed to look at soul dirtying things – your whole body will be full of darkness. The only lamp of the body, which is he eyes, makes one walk in darkness or light, according to what the person yearns to see.
Naturally, our eyes yearn to watch evil things most of the times. Even when such sight brings discomfort to the mind but we often don’t want to miss out the moments. Unless one is disciplined and letting the Holy Spirit dictate terms, it is hardly possible to be safe from seeing things that do not edify the body.
It is true that sometimes Christians find themselves having to watch ungodly television programs for many reasons which might include exposure and learning yet it can be very dangerous for their Christian life. The believer must have a sensitive spirit to make a spiritual evaluation of each show that plays on television and take a decision whether to continue watching it or not. Many television shows are obviously unacceptable for Christians. These include programs that mock God of Christians and all that pertains to it, shows that encourage misconduct of all kinds and shows that devalue the precious live God has given every individual in this world.
Truth be known, what you see influences your decision making and also puts pressure on you when you have to take action. It is encouraged for believers to be full of the Word of God, which will definitely bring light to their bodies.
The believer must always be mindful of the fact that we are called to holiness and whoever misses out on it will not see God. Righteousness is our portion and compromises are not an option. We need to keep our eyes focused on what will edify us and keep working out our salvation with the necessary fear.