When it comes to language, I always think of the words like the “F” Bomb for example; stuff we hear the most on people, with a so called “trucker’s mouth.” However, negative and foul language can be different for every culture, in every part of the world, and negative language is not limited to just a handful of words. So, without focusing on the certain group of words so much, lets look at scripture;
- Ephesians 4:29 ESV – “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
- Philippians 4:8 ESV – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
- Colossians 4:6 ESV – “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
We all know that there are things that people say to hurt the other, and we hear this everywhere! Not just on media, but also in our own lives. Maybe we were one of those people at a certain point in time. Again, take the good, and throw out the bad when you find negative/foul language in your personal media sources. There is scripture that says we should not make friends with angry people, I would say the same goes for watching or listening to angry people too. We need to be careful what and who we surround ourselves with and this goes for media, as well.
Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV – “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV – “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Proverbs 13:20 ESV – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
For some, a person’s biggest relationship is social media, or any media sources for that matter. Currently in this society, we create relationship through media apps, or only have our friendships via online. It is still necessary to filter out our online media, just as much as our in-person media.
Reading through the bible, there is many instances mentioned of justice happening in ways we might not like, of wars, and of deaths. When it comes to violence in what we watch or listen to, we need to think carefully on a few things;
1. Why is this violence happening?
- What is the purpose of it?
- Is this something we can pick good out of, and throw away the bad?
- If you can read reviews on this media source, and take into account the main “scenes” mentioned, is it something to be watching/listening to it at all?
- Is it worth your time, and why?
2. We know the Lord has righteous anger, we know he has permitted wars, even executions and helped people in wars fought, throughout scripture.
- What does he say when it comes to anger in the flesh/anger of man?
- What does he say about murder?
- What does he say about justice, in regards to wrongdoers?
When I think of violence I think angry people, probably trying to kill each other. In action movies for example, there is usually a bad guy and good guy. The bad guy is seeking to destroy something and the good guy is seeking justice, and/or trying to stop him.
We need to go deeper though.
- Is this portraying an anger of the flesh?
- Is this Justice that the said media portrays, true Justice?
- Is there any good you can take out from this?
- Does the said justice, go in line with true, biblical justice? or does it go along with fleshly desires?
- Identify what the justice is, that is being portrayed in the media you are viewing.
Hebrews 10:30 ESV – “For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
Genesis 9:6 ESV – “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
Romans 13:3-4 ESV – “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
Proverbs 3:31-32 ESV – “Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.”
Psalm 11:5 ESV – “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
Romans 12:9 ESV – “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
Maybe this specific thing has a lot of gore and it’s very graphic, and maybe that doesn’t bother you at all emotionally, or physically. However, Is that a good reason to continue watching or listening to it? I could give you my answer on that, but just think of it this way;
With that reasoning, if something doesn’t bother you emotionally or physically, to allow into your mind, does this make whatever it is, right? No, it doesn’t. Why is that?
I used to love crime shows, but the more I watched, the more graphic the scenes became. Did that bother me? After a while, no. But that was not a good reason to continue, and I had no good to pick out of them; at least not anymore. I don’t know what good would have come out of it, and I can only imagine where that would have ultimately led me to. Thankfully, I eventually stopped watching certain shows, altogether. I do still enjoy mystery shows, once I have filtered through them. Unfortunately, some things in the media have no good to pick out.
When it comes to media that is solely about senseless, evil acts of violence or killing, I would argue that you cannot pick any good out of media like that. It can be difficult to pick through the ones we don’t need in our minds, especially when there is so many media sources and unfortunately, such easy access to everything. Not all crime, action, or justice seeking media is bad, and not all movies that state “violence” in the rating are bad either. What we are trying to do, is weed out the kinds of media that is, not throw away all our media entirely.
Things We Can Do To Help Filter Out Some Media From Any of Our Sources:
- We can use Parent Guides to review media before watching or listening, such as;
- Common Sense Media, link here.
- IMBD Parent’s Guide– link here. Any movie we watch, we can look up it’s title and view the Parental reviews for it and it helps us narrow down if it’s a movie we can just look away during certain scenes, or if we should even be watching it at all. There are other review sites, however, these are just a couple we have used in the past.
2. Taking the good and throwing out the bad in the media we do allow in, we can;
- We can simply turn away, mute the sound, or even just skip a scene!
- We can send kids out of the room, or have them turn around so they don’t see a scene.
3. When it comes to social medias apps; Carefully look through all the apps, and which ones you will have and will allow your children to have, and go from there!
- Any social media requires us to pick out the good from the bad,
- Options for this could be, create a private account, limit screen time, and as always, have honest communication between parent and child!
- Also, we need to be able to help our children identify what’s true and what’s not.
With every category mentioned, although I’ve previously said it already— take the good and throw out the bad. Majority of our media has a lot of both, so we need to be diligent in being able to identify the bad parts! We also need to help our children be able to identify the bad parts on their own, as we cannot always do it for them. They need to be able to learn what the truth is, and how to spot what’s not true. John 14:6 ESV – “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Lastly, I encourage you to not stop at the scripture I added, but read more and do more searching on your own! If you find that you have to weed out some of your media, great! Weed it out and use this as a teaching moment for your children, if possible. If you have found you don’t need to do much weeding right now, that’s great too! Ultimately, we just need to be watchful of what we put in our minds.
–“Part 1: Filtering Through Good and Bad Media” linked here