Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Paraphrased from Philippians 4:8)You might have thought that the Bible does not say anything about the videos that we watch (TV, movies, home videos, and Internet videos). However, the Bible does instruct us what kinds of things we should think about, and that applies to watching videos.
Here are four objectionable depictions that are in videos:
- bad language
- the occult
We Are Affected By Listening To Things
You may argue that, "A video I watch is just an inconsequential external situation. It doesn't affect me." But paying attention to it is a decision from your heart, and it is sinful to make bad decisions about what to watch. Jesus warned that merely looking at a woman with bad motives is equivalent to immoral action in your heart.
As a matter of fact, it is reckless to pay attention to wrong messages. Proverbs warn, "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction [that causes] to err from the words of knowledge." (19:27) "A wicked doer gives heed to false lips; [and] a liar gives ear to a naughty tongue." (17:4) "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants [are] wicked." (29:12)
1 Timothy 4:1 warns, "Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils..." This applies directly to videos containing occult messages. Some people go away from believing in Christ, lending an ear to such messages. So these are things that we need to make sure not to give heed to.
Fictitious Depictions Still Evoke Real Sins
You may argue that video content is not sinful because "It is not real." However, when it comes to sin, it's the thought that counts. When God sent the flood during the time of Noah, part of the problem was the wicked people's evil imaginations. When sinful ideas are portrayed in videos, the portrayals may be synthesized through special effects, but they still convey messages. Remember that Philippians 4:8 instructs us to think about virtuous things.
There Are Some Objects That Can Be Sinful To Keep
You might argue that it is OK to obtain or keep videos because they are just physical objects and "There is nothing unclean of itself..." (Romans 14:14), but that is taking that verse out of context. The videos may merely be objects, but obtaining or keeping them is an action, and actions can obviously be sins.
Generally, people keep videos to display, and people watch them to give heed to the messages they convey. Videos are effective at conveying messages and examples, and there can definitely be messages and examples that are bad. In that way, videos today are similar to books in history. As there have been books with bad content, there are videos with bad content.
Not all videos have bad content, but many do. With our videos that contain bad messages, let's take the example from the believers dealing with sinful books during the revival in Acts 19:19: "Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all [people]: and they counted the price of them, and found [it to be] fifty thousand [pieces] of silver." (paraphrased)