Recently I received a series of comments that have really made me dive deeper regarding my recent post on romance. The first question was: “if a romance novel/movie followed a couple long enough to acknowledge that their love had ‘landed,’ would you then view it more favorably?” And the second: “Do you, then, not believe that there is a place for entertainment in the Christian’s life?”
I think that both of these questions revolve around a central theme and that is: “Are the things I’m participating in ‘bad?’” and similarly: “will the things I participate in get me into trouble?”
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.” (1 Cor 10:23)
I think a lot of the issue with entertainment, as it pertains to the Christian life, isn’t really about whether the forms of entertainment we participate in are “right” or “wrong”… “good” or “bad.” These aren’t the questions we should be asking ourselves when we sit down to watch television, or read a book. The questions we should be asking ourselves are: “is the activity I am participating in glorifying God, drawing me closer to Him, or helping me to obtain the things He wants me to have in my life? Is there a way to glorify God in the activity I am participating in?”
A better question than “will this activity get me into trouble” is: “will my participation in this activity get me what I’m after?” How can we live a life where our walk with the Lord is as close and productive as it can possibly be?
I believe there is no all-encompassing answer as to whether entertainment or, specifically, romance as a form of entertainment, is right or wrong. Because it’s both. The issue isn’t about romance itself, it’s about my relationship to romance. When I watch the romantic movie “Shadowlands” it draws me closer to both God and my husband in a way that “Grey’s Anatomy” does not. My relationship to the activity I’m participating in is what’s in question. This can be said of all forms of entertainment, be it a book I’m reading, a song I’m listening to, a movie I’m watching or a conversation I’m having. It’s the reason I can drink a glass of wine without becoming drunk. It’s the reason I am currently learning to play a Metallica song on the violin. If my relationship to the activity I’m participating in is pure, then the activity can be used to bring me closer to God. (1)
Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thess 5:17-18)
Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think on these things. (Phl 4:8)
I think, ultimately, it comes down to this: Becoming so mindful of who we are in Christ, and who He is to us, so mindful of the relationship that we have with Him and the relationship that He wants us to have with Him, that the “rightness” and “wrongness” of a thing is not the issue. We’re asking the wrong questions, when we ask: “is there a place for entertainment in a Christians life.” The question we should be asking ourselves is: “How close do I really want to be to God?” Rather than asking God “is this sin?” God asks us: “what kind of relationship with me do you want to have?” Is it sinful to participate in entertainment? I don’t believe that it is. But is the entertainment that I pursue something that draws me closer to God, or helps me to obtain the things He wants me to have in my life?
“Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves… for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:22-23)
How much more would we see, experience and know God if everything we participated in was done for the purpose of drawing closer to Him? How much more would we hear his voice, and see his works if everything we did was done for His glory?
(1). This isn’t to say that there are no forms of entertainment that are strictly “off limits” for the Christian. There are, of course, things that fall into this category and I’d imagine it’s probably not necessary to list them, here. This article deals with things that are spiritually neutral (I.e. romance.) Romance in and of itself is spiritually neutral. Is romance good? In certain contexts, yes. Is romance bad? In certain contexts, yes. It’s our relationship to romance that changes the context and determines whether it is a form of entertainment that furthers our relationship with God.