Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

dad covering his daughter's eyes watching a movie

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

I cannot tell you what to watch or not watch. But I can tell you what God’s Word says about how we fill our minds, and how to lean on His Holy Spirit to convict and mature us as we make these daily decisions for ourselves as well as our families.

As a teen, I often wondered what was acceptable to listen to or permissible to watch. In analyzing these thoughts, however, I quickly became too over-corrective. Like the Pharisees, I found myself lost in rules and not caught up in Jesus. I stumbled into strict and rigid lines rather than the freedom that Christ brings in free will. I became shallow, judgmental, and too easily offended, when in reality, I may have been the one causing the offense.

When I was 14 years old, something in my brain told me to take Philippians 4:8 a little too seriously. Yes, we should 100% obey the Bible and only think about right and wholesome things, but when your decisions are made out of rigidness to the law rather than freedom in the one who fulfilled it, are you living?

I was the queen of flipping the T.V. off on my parents if they dared to tell me what they were watching was an “R” rated movie. I was the master of listening to Christian music and never allowing any other style to reach my ears, even if it had a wholesome meaning. I was the broken and confused girl who, at 18 years old, realized she was trying to be her ruler, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit within her to guide and prompt those convictions. I am now the result of these confinements as I watch my boyfriend struggle to make the same decisions I once wrestled with.

In Philippians 4:8, Paul remarks, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8, ESV). And in a sense, he is warning us to “be careful little eyes what you see… for the Father, up above, is looking down in love.” Yet rather than seeing Him look down in love, we construe that to looking down in disappointment, chaos, and confusion.

For a more heart-centered way to decide what type of media you should engage in, free of Pharisaical legalism but bound to the heart and soul of Jesus, follow these five tips:

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Prostock-Studio


1. Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

The Bible notes in Matthew 5:29 that if your eye causes you to sin, you should “tear it out and throw it away” (Matthew 5:29, ESV). Though that might sound a bit harsh, Jesus wants us to realize that the eye is the guide of our bodies (Matthew 6:22). It is the driving force of who we are, what we become, and who we grow to be.

If a movie, book, or choice of entertainment explicitly degrades Jesus Christ and His message, I would suggest you fill your eyes with something else.

For example, my boyfriend cannot watch Stranger Things because the language used by the characters convict him. When it comes to myself, however, I am acquitted by that. I agree that the characters shouldn’t use curse words, yet I can enjoy the show and gain positive themes from it that make it permissible. As a teacher, my students love this show, and it is a testimony to be able to say, “No, you should not use those words, but yes, look at the way Will’s friends fought for him, or Eleven fought to save them.”

If we’re able to “be in the world, but not of it” (1 John 2:15, ESV), whatever we see with our eyes will soon internalize itself into what we become. If something isn’t inherently clear about whether it’s appropriate or not, ask God for clarity. More times than not, your conscience will lead the way to this decision, and if you’re questioning it, there is a reason.

We know that we should avoid things like lust, sex, and profanity (Job 31:1) like the plague, but not all shows are cookie-cutter molds with clear-cut answers. Personal discretion aligned with Scripture is always advised.

2. Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear

Like what your eyes see, your ears can also play a part in what’s entering your heart. If you’re constantly filling your Spirit with lies and degrading music or voices, the result will be a defeated and defiled being.

Thus, when it comes to deciding what to listen to, be on guard for what these words say. Personally speaking, I have fallen captive to listening to a song so many times because it was catchy. However, lo and behold, I had no clue what it was saying, which was not good.

If a song curses every other word and has no value, I would not listen to it. However, if secular music is just secular, meaning it doesn’t say “I love Jesus” in every line, and its message is appropriate, I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying that song.

God doesn’t want us to live strict lives full of rules and regulations. He isn’t a dictator just waiting for us to mess up and watch or listen to something we shouldn’t. He’s given us grace and free will to make these decisions according to His prompting Spirit within us.

3. Be Careful Little Tongue What You Say

In the world in which we live, words are all around us. Some are good and wholesome, and some are morally degrading. You will inevitably hear curse words and profane language at some point in your life, and if you haven’t, you soon will. What is controllable, however, is what comes out of your mouth.

James 3:6 reminds us that our tongues have such power, a power that can start a raging wildfire. It is up to us to use that fire in ways that purify and cleanse rather than in ways that lead to death (Proverbs 18:21).

If you can watch a secular movie that has the occasional curse word without being tempted to talk that way, then I would say you’re safe to view it. If you yourself more likely to use language that dishonors others and yourself after watching such things, I would run like you’re sprinting, far from that destructive fire. Remember, our words reflect our hearts (Matthew 15:18).

4. Be Careful Little Heart Whom You Trust

In the end, we should trust in Jesus Christ alone to help us make these decisions (Psalm 62). You can get advice from friends, family members, and society, but only Christ and the Holy Spirit within you can help you to make these choices according to what you know about your heart.

In this world, there will be people that do not agree with you. My boyfriend and I, for example, have chosen to agree to disagree, but that doesn’t make one of us a better Christian than the other.

Some forms of media are explicitly evil and should be avoided, but the majority try to blend the lines we work hard to distinguish. Only the Lord knows the heart and motives behind the decisions we make, and that must be the place from which we seek our validation (1 John 3:20).

5. Be Careful Little Mind What You Think

Proverbs 23:7 hints that we are what we think. Thus, when it comes to what we watch or listen to, this is crucial because we’re filling our minds with thoughts that will sooner or later circle back around.

Watching lust, lies, sex scenes, and porn will not produce fruitful thinking, and corrupts your understanding God’s design for sex.

Mindlessly watching bloodbaths, evil, deception, and satanic motifs will not grow your faith.

But learning to discern whether or not a show or music choice is acceptable will indeed develop your Christian growth. And personally speaking, asking the questions I’ve listed here has been beyond beneficial for me. I also love using pluggedin.com, which analyzes all the details.

It’s extreme to say that we should never listen or watch anything secular. I believe that this can be used to testify goodness in a way that the world would not expect. It’s another extreme, however, to say that unless something is marked “Christian” with a label, it’s automatically wrong or that we are permissible to watch anything. Both are unacceptable, and both lead to places we don’t want to be in: Places of tyranny and judgment and places of fake holiness too caught up in standards to recognize God’s grace in unexpected places.

In 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23, Scripture reminds us that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. We need to be on guard not only for our hearts, minds, and souls at all times but for those who are around us (1 Timothy 4:12). When making decisions for the media, ask yourself these questions, and talk to God about them. Our goal should never be “What can I get away with,” “Or how much can I blur the lines,” but “How can what I watch, see, hear, do, and engage with, bring glory to Him.”

Our media doesn’t have to be marked “Christian” for it to be good, pleasing, and acceptable to God. Many Pharisees and Sadducees knew the talk or possessed the outward laws of being a Christian, but they didn’t walk the walk, and that’s made all the difference (Matthew 23).

I cannot tell you what to watch or not watch. But I can tell you what God’s Word says about how we fill our minds, and how to lean on His Holy Spirit to convict and mature us as we make these daily decisions for ourselves as well as our families.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/nicoletaionescu

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is an aspiring 25-year-old writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Hoping to become a full-time freelancer, Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic ministry team (Aisthitikós Joy Ministries), and volunteer roles. She is also the author of The Story I've Never Told, which is currently in the publishing process. Amber has freelanced for Daughter of Delight, Kallos, Anchored Passion, Crosswalk, No Small Life, Darling Magazine, Called Christian Writers, Southern Ohio Today News, The Rebelution, Ohio Christian University, and The Circleville Herald. Visit her website at amberginter.com.


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