Hands up everyone who has seen Titanic! [lots of hands, loud cheers]. Hands up everyone who thought it was a great movie! [lots of hands and loud cheers again]. Hands up everyone who’s planning to rent it now that it’s out on video! [hands, cheers, etc.].
Now, let’s have a show of hands from all those who think Jesus would have watched it! [SILENCE]
You know, for the life of me, I just cannot picture Jesus saying to Peter, “Hey Pete, let’s go see thatTitanic movie! There are only those two scenes that aren’t so good.”
My friend Adam and I belong to an exclusive organization that he calls “The Club.” There are only two requirements for membership: (1) you must be Christian; and (2) you must not have seen the film Titanic. Unfortunately, “The Club” is very small; many young people would probably not qualify. In fact, most are surprised we haven’t seen it. Adam said to me, “It seems as though it would be less strange (to them) if I grew an arm out of my forehead than if I didn’t watch Titanic.”
The point of this article is not to bash the movie, but rather to help us analyze the strength of our Christian commitment. In our society, we who are supposed to be witnesses for Christ aren’t always careful about what we watch.
True, I can’t judge anyone, because I’ve seen my share of violence and sex scenes in movies. Too many times I have sat quietly, turning my eyes away but never getting up to leave, for fear of insulting my friends or looking self-righteous. I kick myself for not witnessing to my faith at those times.
Recently, I have started leaving and voicing my opinion on certain films; but it’s very difficult, because it can create a barrier. Some friends think I’m being dramatic, judgmental, or overly religious. I try to convey my thoughts in a Christian manner, while wondering if I really am being too “religious.” It’s not always easy.
Suppose we take a “good” 120-minute movie that has one six-minute sex scene and no violence; we could say the ratio of good to bad is a decent 20:1. However, if we consider that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and that what we watch has the potential to influence our souls directly, I would say the ratio no longer matters.
Those six minutes add to all the other six-minute scenes we’ve viewed. We start to become desensitized, tolerant of violence and unchastity, and our respect for true love and for each other begins to decline – whether we realize it or not.
In fact, I find I’m starting to become “re-sensitized.” The less adultery I see in films, the more disgusted I am when I do see it.
If you don’t believe desensitization is possible, that you can watch these films and remain immune, let me give the example of the frog and the hot water. If you place a frog in boiling water, it will certainly die. But if you place it in cool water, then increase the temperature slowly, the frog will live. So it is with our souls. Each impure scene raises the temperature and places our soul in hotter water. I believe if we are truly committed to Jesus Christ, we will do our best to guard our eyes and hearts from the evil that is present in the world.
So what are some basic practical steps?
– First of all, we should be very selective in choosing films. Ask close friends for their opinions; even ask specifically about the amount of sex and violence. I don’t have to do that anymore; my friends know me well enough to say, “You wouldn’t like it.”
– Second, read the back covers or watch the previews carefully. My family rents movies more often than we go to the theatre, and the rentals usually have previews at the beginning. I think they’re great, because you can judge ahead of time whether or not to see them.
– Third, pray for the courage to stand up for Christ. Jesus never said it would be easy; He told us to take up our cross and follow Him. However, if we ask, He’ll definitely be there to guide us through those sticky situations when we’re the only one in a group of friends who objects to seeing a certain film.
– Finally, as we’re watching the movie, we should ask ourselves, “When I stand before God, will I be able to say to Him honestly, ‘It really was a good movie, and I think You would have watched it with me.'”
Andrea Procher, a former student at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Oh.,
She is in her second-year of nursing at Georgian College in Barrie, Ont.