Question: "Should we, as Christians, watch television (TV)?"

Many Christians struggle with the issue of whether or not to watch TV and, if we do watch, how much TV should we watch? Television, like many other diversions we have in today's society, has the ability to do both great good and great harm. On the plus side it can be a wonderful educational tool. News and weather reports have saved countless lives, and we have access to entertainment, sports and information that can be helpful and uplifting. From a Christian standpoint, it has been used to share the Gospel to virtually every nation on earth (Matthew 28:19) and countless lives have been changed through this. On the negative side, however, many people have become mindlessly addicted to whatever show may be on, taking them away from family, friends and time with God. Many of the most popular shows today focus on the worst that mankind has to offer, and evil is glorified as good (see 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Isaiah 5:20). We see some men and women claiming to be ministers of God that are more concerned about money and prestige than about saving souls (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The impact of television in our lives comes in what we do with it. We can let it control us, or we can use it as the tool it was meant to be. Here are some verses that may help you in discerning what is appropriate in your TV viewing:

Matthew 5:28: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Matthew 6:22-23: "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

Romans 12:2: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 13:13-14: "Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

Philippians 4:8: "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22: "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."