What About Bad TV?

What 1 Peter 2:9-12 tells us about bad television

Several years ago, I talked with a man from Eastern Europe. He said that many of his friends learn English and learn about American culture by watching American TV with subtitles. 

This helped me understand his frequent use of curse words. I'm sure he didn't realize that not all Americans use the f-word.*

Since many shows on television glorify power, money, fame, and sex, I wondered what he and his friends thought of American values. 

Television always pushes the limits. 

It strongly influences our culture but it doesn't always represent it.

So what's a Christian to do? How do we deal with television that so often honors the worst aspects of human life? 

Scripture says “you are a chosen people…God’s special possession…I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires…Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God…” (1 Peter 2:9-12).

We can’t stop others from sinning, only Jesus can. But we can stop sinning ourselves. 

We can’t change our culture, only Jesus can. But we can let Christ's light shine through us (Matthew 5:16).

What are some ways you've countered the influence of bad TV in your life? 
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* See The F-Word and Wholesome Christian Speech.

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What 1 Peter 2:9-12 tells us about bad television

23 comments:

  1. Oh my what an eye-opener to think that other cultures are learning about our culture through what they see on the tube. They must be thinking the worst about us. My hubby and I try and steer clear of all the shows and movies that are not edifying. While we might live in the world we don't have to become part of it.

    Thanks for sharing Gail. God bless!

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    1. I think God expects us to do what you are doing and I commend you for it. And it can be hard at times, can't it?

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  2. I agree with Diana but as you said we can only address the sin in our own lives. I am very careful about what I watch most often it's baseball (go Tigers), Public Television, History, Learning, maybe the news. I believe in the 'garbage in - garbage out' principle. Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinketh, so is he". That applies to everything we see, hear, read...Thanks for making me aware, once again, that I really need to be careful and selective. What a blessing you are!

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    1. Good verse for this subject. Thanks for sharing it.

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  3. I was raised without television and am thankful for a childhood based on imagination, books and friends. I shudder to think what the young man has "discovered" about Americans. I love the verse you have used--"chosen." I want the light of Jesus to flow through my life so other's idea of American culture will also include a belief in Christ.

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    1. Yes, you can be grateful for that upbringing. We are all so influenced by what we watch, read, sing, etc. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. we don't watch it. it is incredible i know..none of my 8 kids watch tv...they have not missed a thing either! if we do watch a sporting event my husband turns the channel or mutes the commercials...kind of over the top I know but they are so ok with this this idea they have never even once complained.

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    1. More power to you! I think that's great.

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  5. We buy loads of DVDs that are God and family friendly. If we must watch TV, then the program must be carefully chosen. Infact, we hardly pay for our TV subscription untill December, when we can have the time to watch as a family. We do not allow TV to teach our children for us. And our children are getting used to and comfortable with it. The way of Christ is "narrow" but the safest.
    Your new follower on GFC from Teach me Tuesday.
    http://www.ugochi-jolomi.com/

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    1. Great steps to take, Ugochi. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I remember the same thing happening when I studied abroad in France years ago. I was an English Language Assistant in a public high school and the kids got a lot of their English from Eminem songs, complete with all the cursing. The really bad part was that they had no idea what they were saying or how offensive it was; they were just repeating words. They also used to ask me tons of questions wondering if America really was like the shows that were on there...I think Dawson's Creek was big at the time.

    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives
    www.thewarriorwives.com

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    1. Yes, Elizabeth...I've seen this too. I have frequently had a very nice normal-looking foreigner say the f word and take the Lord's name in vain in conversations as if it were the way we all talk in America. I know they don't think they are being offensive because some of them have actually been trying to make a good impression. Sad that TV/movies give the impression we Americans think nothing of profanity.

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  7. I am an American living in England and I can attest that there are some that believe all Americans are like these reality TV shows. Americans have lots of money and no class is the beliefs of some. I dislike those shows and never watch them and I pray they go off the air. Thanks for linking up to the NOBH

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    1. Thanks for that ex-pat insight. I've seen this in a number of countries myself, not just Croatia. When we did a mission trip in Turkey, even though our team were dressed modestly--no shorts, no tight-fitting clothing, no sleeveless tops--some of the Turkish men treated us like we were looking for sex. I actually had a man proposition me while my husband left for a few minutes to get this man a Turkish Bible! We were told that's because TV/movies promote the idea that all American women are sluts. Pretty sad.

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  8. Dear Gail,
    I absolutely agree with you. My children and I came from Ecuador 11 years ago, and yes most everyone outside of the US thinks that all bad example to youth comes from the US through Hollywood. That is why I made a decision early on my kids' lives to choose (and then I had to approve)what show a day (no more than 1 one hour per day) they were going to watch. After a couple of years their interest in TV went to books, sports and family/social activities. Now days we barely watch one hour of TV per week.

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  9. I'm a homeschooled 15 year old, and all those shows on tv and most all movies disgust me. They glorify sex and lying and hurting others just to be funny. They teach us to conform. I barely watch tv, partly because I'm studying a lot, but I find it a waste of time and feel guilty watching those shows. My parents were never really close to God and are just recently starting to read the Bible, so they never taught me to be careful about what I watch. Through the Bible and by God's grace I realized how bad it is, and it breaks my heart that my family still watches and enjoys shows that completely defile God. It surprises me how many 'christians' watch these shows and movies. I just don't understand why they do, and if they even know that it breaks God's heart. Please pray with me that God would open my family's eyes to see their sin and give them a repentant heart to turn away from sinful pleasures. By God's power and grace I believe we can overcome these temptations, but we must accept his forgiveness and embrace what he has to offer first. I pray my family does that.

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  10. Mu husband and I unsubscribed from television a few years ago. I recently watched a prime time show and was appalled at how much television had degraded since we cancelled our subscription. We have netflix streaming and pick/choose what we watch. I just found christianfilmdatabase.com which looks similar to netflix, they even offer streaming and have a free trial. A good alternative to pricey tv packages that bring filth into our homes. Thanks for your ministry with 1 minute Bible notes. ~ Abby

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    1. Thanks for sharing your insights and some resources, Abby.
      Have a blessed day!
      Gail

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  11. The amount of TV we watch has decreased greatly. We are in a cultural and spiritual war. When we destroy the family, babies and morality a society will collapse on itself. Evil works in incremental steps, and unless we push back the evil will envelope us. Many in the world have turned their back to God, and the world will pay a heavy price.

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  12. We don't have a television in the house, and the little I see if we're vacationing has convinced me that's the best policy. I do thoroughly enjoy HGTV, but it's disappointing how many women curse when they are shown their renovated home. Also, the number of pharmaceutical ads is more than a little distressing; foreigners must be convinced that nearly every American suffers from ED or insomnia! I especially dislike the ED ones when I'm watching with my younger children.

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  13. We are very mindful of what we watch. Nothing with any nudity, suggestive or immoral behavior, no foul language, nothing that mocks God or our Christian faith- nothing that has gratuitous violence. We enjoy cooking shows, some things on the History Channel, travel documentaries, older sit coms, movies from friends recommendations.

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  14. Wow. I call myself a Christian, yet I've allowed my 15-year old daughter watch whatever she wants on t.v. and let her listen to music of any kind without monitoring her. I trusted her, but it turns out she's been watching and listening to filth. It's my fault for not parenting like I should have. I've decided to take drastic measures to do what's right, so I've canceled Netflix, subscribed to Pureflix (a Christian version of Netflix), and have canceled her cell phone and gotten her a Tracfone with just the calling features, but no internet or games. I couldn't believe the stuff that's out there, that I didn't know about. She'd even looked up pornography, which I was so shocked she had done, being a Christian too. What a wakeup call your article was, and how it has hopefully saved my daughter before it's too late.

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  15. Good Morning ! Just last night 2 of my children were kidding me because most of my watching TV is me watching HGTV,
    ( Home and Garden TV) I said to them that the reasons I watch it is because I can travel the world and there is no bad language in HGTV, I do not agree with the swearing/ sexual content on regular programs and will not watch it,!

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