The modern person who wishes to watch adult or violence-filled movies has more than enough to choose from. Unlike in the past when TV and cinema were the main media through which you could access such content, today this content is almost everywhere. You could watch it on social media, on your desktop, or on the go using your smartphone. But what does the Bible say about watching such things?
The Bible is clear that watching bad things that glorify ungodly themes such as lust and sexual immorality is sinful. Filling our minds with such themes prevents us from having the same mindset that Christ had (Philippians 2:5). It also doesn’t align with God’s commandments and teachings that require believers to fill their minds with things that are pure (Philippians 4:8). The word of God also commands us to set our minds on things above rather than giving our attention and time to things of this world (Colossians 3:2).
What Does Watching Bad Things Mean?
Watching bad things in the biblical context means looking at content that can cause you to sin or harm your spiritual well-being. So, anything that may lead us into sin qualifies as ‘bad,’ and we should avoid engaging with it. The Bible says in Psalm 119:37, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and give me life in your ways.”
Often, bad things are not painted negatively. Instead, they are portrayed as appealing, interesting, and “beneficial” to us. It’s this same concept and a false perception that Satan uses to tempt man.
For example, Eve listened to the serpent in the Garden because she looked at the forbidden fruit and saw that it was “pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 3:6). In this case, Satan used an intriguing image to entrap her. The devil also tried a similar tactic on Jesus. In the third temptation, Satan uses a false perception to show all the Kingdoms of the world and its glory (Mark 4:8-9).
Satan promises to give Jesus all the Kingdoms but at a price. While Jesus did not succumb to temptation, Eve disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve succumbed to temptation because the devil portrayed the fruit as desirable and lied that it would turn them into gods (Moses 4:11).
What We Watch Could Influence Our Actions
To keep ourselves pure, we’re discouraged from watching bad things because this could encourage us to engage in acts that don’t please God.
A classic example is found in 2 Samuel 11: 2-5. This is the story of King David who is enchanted by the beauty of Bathsheba and consequently sleeps with her and makes her pregnant. The simple act of viewing the woman’s beauty makes King David reach a point of no return and he knowingly engages in adultery because in verse 3 he’s told who the woman is, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
Many bible verses expressly condemn adultery but the one that should make a Christian even more careful about watching things that could bring the temptation is in Mathew 5. When delivering The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about adultery in verses 27-28:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I tell that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart…”
While you might not engage in physical acts with members of the opposite sex that you lust for, Christ’s teaching is that fantasizing about such people is equivalent to adultery. In a modern setting then, a lot of Christians could be guilty of committing adultery with adult stars, TV news anchors, and movie stars.
What About Watching Bad Things to Get A Better Understanding of The Other Side?
Some people argue that they have no problem with watching what they know the bible does not approve of because their only intention is to understand people who are addicted to bad things. That’s the same argument that’s fronted by Christians who frequent nightclubs and other social places where they’re likely to see morally degrading stuff.
While you might assume that watching such stuff and visiting places where sin reigns could help in your evangelization efforts, you must also realize that you expose yourself to real temptations. You might start with good intentions only to find yourself sucked in.
Advice for the believer who might want to watch bad things while having good intentions is found in Romans 12:2 which says: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
What to Do After Watching Bad Things
As we’ve noted, watching bad things could lead you into temptations with dire consequences. Should your watching lead you to do things that anger God, you’re encouraged to repent and ask God for forgiveness. Using the example of David and Uriah’s wife, when the king is confronted by prophet Nathan and told that God was displeased by his action, David confesses his sin.
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:13-14)
When we sin, we disobey the word of God and do things to fulfill our own desires (James 1:14-15). The Bible is clear: the consequence of sin is separation from God (Isaiah 59) and death (Romans 6:23). However, Christ died for us so that our sinful nature can be redeemed (Romans 5:8). So, there is always room to repent even when we are addicted to watching bad things. To earn Forgiveness:
- Turn to God and confess your sins (1 John 1:9).
- Ask God to replace the bad things in your mind with those that are honorable (Philippians 4:8).
- Pray and request God to help you avoid looking at worthless things (Psalm 119:37).
- Finally, ask Him to renew your mind and help you to know what is good and acceptable (Romans 12:2)
The Bible teaches us to avoid getting into temptations by watching bad things. Many times, the bible warns against sexual immorality, adultery, and impurity. Christians are warned against giving in to the desires of the flesh and encouraged to do things that are pleasing to God. Despite the presence of a huge array of morally degrading stuff today, there’s also plenty of good content that a Christian with a discerning mind could enjoy without getting themselves into temptations.