Are There TV Shows I Should Be Avoiding?

“I want to assure you, you can glorify God, you MUST glorify God. But you have to determine deep within your heart that you're going to do it His way.”
–Charles R. Swindoll, Rise & Shine: A Wake Up Call

I read an article the other day that stated that the average American watches 5 hours of television a day. I honestly think that’s too much TV. In fact, I wrote about my long gone TV habits over a year ago (see post here). Now I do concede that TV, when consumed in appropriate quantities, can provide a fair bit of entertainment. However, the question I want to wrestle with in this post is this: as devoted followers of Jesus, are there TV shows that we should be avoiding? Although I’ll avoid making any hard fast rules in fear of being legalistic, I do want to raise questions and concerns in the hopes that each of us will take a closer look at what kinds of entertainment we choose to consume.

Have I placed all things under the Lordship of Jesus? Jesus should rule in our hearts and in our minds. In fact, Jesus should rule in all aspects of our lives. There is nothing in our lives that shouldn’t be subjected to Christ. No area is off limits to Him. It would make sense then that what types of entertainment we choose to consume should fall right under the Lordship of Jesus too. God should have a say in whatever goes into our hearts and our minds. Paul tells us that whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we should do them to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Are there TV shows that we cannot in good and godly conscience watch “to the glory of God”?

Does this TV show honor the things that God honors? Any TV show that honors the things that God honors could be worth watching for encouragement and educational purposes. TV shows that depict genuine love, loyalty, honesty, commitment, truth, responsibility, sacrifice, etc. could be an encouragement to us all. But how about shows that espouse the things that aren’t honoring to God? Perhaps they even promote the things that God Himself opposes? What about shows that depict graphic violence and sexual immorality? Should we be entertained by shows that do not honor the things that God Himself does not honor?

What does this TV show do to me? We shouldn’t kid ourselves that the TV shows we consume won’t affect us in any way. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt. 15:19, ESV). Therefore, it becomes very important for us to take care of our hearts. We must be vigilant about what we feed our hearts or we may find ourselves behaving in ways that are contrary to the values of Christ. We should often ask ourselves: does this TV show ultimately draw me closer to Christ and His ways and values or does it bring me further away from Him? If we’re not careful, we might find ourselves drifting further and further away from the values of Christ and one day wondering to ourselves, “How did I get here?”