How Christian Teens Should View Media
Every day, we are faced with innumerable opinions from others. Whether it be through television, music, or literature, we are exposed to what people think.
Like it or not, we live in the age of media.
As Christians, how are we supposed to react to all this noise in the world?
I think that in order to know how to respond to different kinds of media, we should first define what media is.
What is Media?
The word “media” quite literally means “the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet), regarded collectively.”
This means all forms of major communication, not just news and social media. It includes video games, music, and any other medium for spreading ideas.
When God created sound, light, and our inventive minds, it was perfect. We can use those tools to express ourselves and show off the greatness of God through media. Therefore, the concept of media is good!
But because of the sinful nature of humans, it has been polluted and diminished to express sin. This doesn’t mean media is sinful, only the perverted ideas expressed through it.
It’s very important to understand that media in and of itself is not sinful. For example, while different messages in music promote worldly living, music can also promote Christian living. We just need to know what’s acceptable and what’s not.
How to Take in Media
What basis, though, should we use for determining what to listen to? Well, in my opinion, there’s really just one basic rule.
I’ve heard it put like this before: “Embrace that which brings you closer to Jesus, and reject that which pulls you away from Jesus.” It’s that simple.
Now, this may leave you wondering, “What about media that doesn’t take me away from God, but it doesn’t really help me grow, either?”
For these types of scenarios, I would recommend taking Biblical principles and applying them to what you’re taking in.
“Whatever you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
When it comes to media, some may look at Christian movies and say “This is the only thing I can watch.” But I believe it’s a much bigger picture.
Remember, God created communication. We can utilize that tool to give glory to the One who made it.
Many times, we can catch ourselves labeling media with tags like “Christian” and “Non-Christian.” But media doesn’t have beliefs, the people who speak through it do.
When handling media, I believe we must look at all types with equal lenses.
Ted Turnau in his book Popologetics: Popular Culture in a Christian Perspective lists five helpful questions we can ask to determine whether or not a certain type of media is acceptable.
- What’s the story?
- Where am I (in the world of the text)?
- What’s good and true and beautiful about it?
- What’s false and ugly and perverse about it? (And how do I subvert that?)
- How does the Gospel apply here?
Ask these questions with both “Christian” and “secular” media.
I’m not going to tell you what rating is admissible or what genre is acceptable. Just examine it with these questions, and you can know if something is glorifying to God.
Watch What Goes In
When opinions of others are regularly passed through our mind unfiltered, they leave an impression on us, even if it’s just a minute idea.
It’s important to constantly monitor what goes into our minds. When taking in media, know your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If watching or hearing something has a negative impact and draws you away from God, get rid of it!
While God created communication and blessed us with media, Satan is still the “prince of the power of the air.” (Ephesians 2:2) He has turned media into a tool of sin, but it can still be used for God’s glory.
No amount of entertainment is worth hurting your relationship with the Creator.
With every bit of media we take in, let’s ask ourselves: is this glorifying to God? Is this a suitable use of communication?