Last week I wrote a piece which explained a problem: we've been fooled by desensitization. We watch sex scenes and call it maturity.
That's a problem.
But I have a hard time when people just spend a whole bunch of time shouting problems without offering solutions (or at least beginnings of solutions). And I don't want to be that guy. So this piece attempts to provide ideas which point to true maturity. With that said, here we go...
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Some movies are obviously issues of desensitization. Wolf of Wall Street. 50 Shades of Grey. Shrek (just kidding... I wanted to make sure you were still following me).
But what about other movies? What about the movies that have amazing plots and important messages but just glorify sex a little bit? The sex isn't graphic, the camera is shaking, and the plot doesn't linger on it. What about those?
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In regards to lust, Jesus famously says in Matthew 5 that we need to go to extreme measures to remain pure. If our eye causes us to sin, we should take it out. If our hand causes us to sin, we should cut it off. He says it is better to enter into heaven maimed than be able-bodied in hell.
So with the gray stuff, the movies that have wonderful messages and important points to make, I believe we are called to be sober of mind and judgment. We each know our areas of weakness; we each know what tempts us to lust. Deep down, through prayer and accountability, I believe we can all sense the difference between maturity and desensitization. We can trust in the Spirit to reveal to us that line.
But let's not forget that we are called to take extreme steps.
Extreme steps are not limiting the time we spend watching it or promising to close our eyes through certain scenes. Extreme steps are extreme.
Extreme steps are canceling Netflix, getting off social media, switching down to a flip phone, adding accountability software. It's having a friend set up a passcode on your ratings system. It's having honest conversations. It's writing about it. It's all that.
Extreme steps are extreme. It doesn't have to be everything, but it needs to be extreme.
For myself, I am becoming convicted that the line is much closer than I like to make it out to be. I am realizing that there are a number of movies with great messages and only hints of “sexual glorification,” but I know that one small scene will create a fire in my brain. In order to remain pure, to continue fighting lust and objectification, I must go to extreme measures.
So perhaps it is better to be culturally clueless in heaven than a well-informed critic in hell.
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Therefore, I have decided to cut out media that promotes and glorifies sex, even just talk of sex. The seed may be small, the line seemingly insignificant, but my mind is fertile and ready to lust. It does not take much for me to chase bad thoughts. So I will not be watching as much Netflix as I used to, and I will purposefully take time to gain sober judgment and discernment in the media I consume. I cannot be a passive consumer but an active initiator.
This looks like cutting out Saturday Night Live and New Girl. It looks like seeing Zootopia instead of Zoolander. It looks like a lot more Wendell Berry books and a lot fewer Netflix binges. I’m nervous I’m going to fail, but I want to take the extreme steps Jesus prescribed. I want to live more like Jesus.
If you are interested in joining me in this, feel free to comment or email me. I would love others standing along with me!