Be Careful What You Read

I think we, as a society, need to learn to be careful what we read, see, and hear. It’s odd advice, I know, from a writer, but I think it’s something that needs to be said to a lot of people. We’ve probably all heard that old rhyme “be careful little eyes what you see.” I wonder how many of us take its advice seriously.

I’ll admit, it’s hard to do it today. Our society bombards us daily with sex and violence and the darkest parts of the human experience. I was writing a paper for school a few days ago that was on the subject of the entertainment industry. One of the points that I made was that I can’t name off the top of my head a single adult character on television that is celibate. The highlight of most “love” stories these days is when the main characters have sex for the first time. When I was talking about the paper with my mom later, she pointed out that often, it’s not just in the shows themselves, but actually in commercials for TV shows.

Some shows seem to run off of it. I hate to name one that is super popular, but Game of Thrones is a good example. I’ve personally never seen the show, but I’ve seen enough commercials for it and read enough reviews to know that it’s not something I want to watch. The show makes bank on subjecting viewers to graphic sex scenes and horrifying violence in nearly every episode. Maybe it has a decent plot, but to me it’s not worth it.

Honestly, all of this is dangerous. I don’t think people realize how much of a show they internalize every episode. When you’re laughing along to a romantic comedy, it’s easy to cheer for the likable protagonist when he finally gets the girl and they sleep together. When you’re glued to your seat during the heart-pounding action scenes in a movie like Jurassic World, you probably won’t notice all of the references to evolution and naturalistic thought.

We need to be careful. And some people need to be more careful than others. Personally, I can’t stand most pop or hip-hop. The genres are becoming increasingly filled with references I don’t want to hear. Even old favorites like country music is going down that path. For a long time, I’ve listened almost exclusively to Christian rock and rap. I pick my secular music very carefully. It’s not because I think I’m better than someone else who doesn’t, but it’s because I can’t handle a lot of today’s music. It gets in my head and in my heart in a way that is not glorifying to God. I’m not saying everyone, or even every Christian, should listen to only Christian music. I’m only saying that that’s what I’m doing because it helps me personally.

Sometimes, silence can drown out the bad in ways that sound never could. Sometimes, we just need to stay away from the bad. Christians in particular need to learn this. We are called to be in the world, but not of it (a la Romans 12:2). We have to guard our hearts against what the world will throw at us, and sometimes that means looking away. If you’re vulnerable to something, then get away from it. That’s not to say that we turn a blind eye to the problems of the world. But there’s a difference between knowing that something exists and participating in it, no matter how peripherally.

So please, friends, be careful what you see. Be careful what you read. Be careful of letting what you consume, consume you.

Guard your hearts.

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4 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Read

  1. Hey, Susannah, I just heard a terrific interview on NPR and was introduced to a new Christian singer I’d not heard before and thought I’d share it with you. I fell in love with her voice. Chances are you know of her already, but just in case, her name is Liz Vice and here’s a link to her radio interview: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=442917315&m=443896384
    I hope it might strike a chord. (ha!)
    Be well!

  2. I enjoy Christian Rock too, if listening to the band in my church counts for that. And you are right, it is peaceful.

    The songs, movies and everything else is hardly filled with something that one can hardly relate to these days, that is why reading a book is better if you ask me. It is also the basis of which book you do pick, just like movies and music.

    Great post!

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