Young People Ask . . .
Music Videos—How Can I Be Selective?
“When I see the name of a questionable group or song displayed, that’s when I change channels.”—Casey.
MUSIC VIDEOS—many youths find them to be enormously entertaining. But as a previous article in this series showed, many music videos contain shocking portrayals of sexual immorality and violence.* Of course, when any form of entertainment promotes what God condemns, a Christian should refrain from watching it. However, not all music videos are brazenly immoral. Some may be relatively wholesome. Others may seem free of outright wickedness. Yet, such videos may well convey subtle messages that conflict with God’s Word.
If your parents agree that you can watch music videos, you will need to be selective and use your Bible-trained “perceptive powers” so that you can distinguish what is fit or unfit for viewing. (Hebrews 5:14) What Bible principles can help you in this regard? The following are some Bible texts and comments that may prove helpful to you.
Proverbs 4:23: “More than all else that is to be guarded, safeguard your heart, for out of it are the sources of life.” Do you own some sports equipment or a musical instrument that is precious to you? You no doubt take pains to keep it in good repair and in a safe place. You certainly would not place it out on the street unattended, even momentarily, for fear that it might be damaged or stolen. Yes, you safeguard it. Similarly, you must make a decision that you will safeguard your heart, not putting it in even momentary danger by exposing it to unwholesome entertainment.
Ephesians 2:1, 2: “It is you God made alive though you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience.” The air is the spirit of the world, the way of thinking and the attitudes that lie behind ungodly behavior. This spirit is reflected in many music videos and is diametrically opposed to God’s spirit, which produces such qualities as joy, peace, and self-control.—Galatians 5:22, 23.
2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee from the desires incidental to youth.” Watching sexual scenes—even when they are brief—will only fan the flames of desire. Many young ones admit that they find such scenes difficult to forget; they may even tend to replay them mentally over and over. A young man named Dave, who saw a suggestive video, confesses: “After that, every time I heard that song I thought of this video.” Viewing such videos could thus nurture a desire for immoral sexual relations.—1 Corinthians 6:18; Colossians 3:5.
Proverbs 13:20: “He that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.” Ask yourself, ‘Would I invite practicers of violence, spiritism, drunkenness, or immorality into my house?’ Association with such ones through the medium of television is tantamount to inviting them into your home. Can doing so cause you to “fare badly”? Kimberly observes: “I’ve seen situations where girls will, at a gathering, imitate the dress or suggestive dance moves that they had recently watched on a video.” You may have seen something similar. By imitating those who have no regard for godly standards, these youths show that they are already beginning to “fare badly.” So by all means, avoid any form of “bad associations.”—1 Corinthians 15:33.
Psalm 11:5: “Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one, and anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates.” If we watch videos that promote senseless, degrading violence, could it at least give the appearance that we are ‘lovers of violence’?
The Challenge of Being Selective
Because “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” it has become increasingly difficult to find entertainment that is not tainted with the thinking and attitudes of the world. (1 John 5:19) Some music-video channels may show a substantial amount of objectionable material. Even when the programming is not blatantly immoral or violent, oftentimes it is still promoting the spirit of the world. A professional musician observed that one well-known music-video channel “has turned from a music channel into ‘a lifestyle channel.’”
The solution may seem simple: If a video is bad, change the channel. The problem is, you may need to be just as vigilant when watching other TV channels. Many feature programs that are graphically violent or lewd or that show people in morally compromising circumstances. Admittedly, it can be annoying—perhaps even frustrating—to try to enjoy some entertainment while at the same time remaining ever ready to change the channel. And sometimes, by the time the channel has been changed, the damage has been done. Immoral mental pictures have already been imprinted on the mind. Nevertheless, you can be sure that Jehovah God will bless any sincere efforts you put forth to safeguard your heart.—2 Samuel 22:21.
There are other practical steps that might prove useful. Casey, mentioned earlier, explained what he finds helpful: “The name of the group and the song title are usually displayed at the start of the video. Bands have reputations, so you almost always know what groups and what songs are probably going to be bad. So when I see the name of a questionable group or song displayed, that’s when I change channels. Right at the start.”
‘Speaking the Truth in Your Heart’
Even if you are armed with a knowledge of Bible principles, it is possible to begin tolerating what is offensive. How? By allowing yourself to rationalize. (James 1:22) The Bible tells us that Jehovah’s friend is one who is “speaking the truth in his heart.” (Psalm 15:2) So be honest with yourself. Avoid self-deception. If you find yourself justifying your watching something questionable, ask yourself, ‘Would Jehovah really approve of my watching this?’ Remember, often the challenge is not merely knowing what is right or wrong but deciding that you will do what is right! You must view your relationship with Jehovah as more precious than some form of entertainment.—2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.
It is usually not enough to make some halfhearted, general resolve to be more selective. Your resolve can fade quickly if it is not firm. The Bible tells us how the man of God named Job resolved to remain faithful to his wife. He said: “A covenant I have concluded with my eyes. So how could I show myself attentive to a virgin?” (Job 31:1) Imagine that! Job made a covenant, or solemn contract, with himself to limit what he would allow his eyes to see. You can, in effect, do the same thing. Make a firm resolve—a solemn promise to yourself—not to look at things that are bad. Set specific limits. Make it a matter of prayer. Then be true to your agreement, even writing it down if that helps. If you need a little extra support, why not talk things over with someone older whom you trust—your parents, for example?
In view of the dangers, some Christian youths have decided simply not to watch music videos at all. Whatever your decision is in this regard, use your perceptive powers. Maintain a clean conscience. By sticking to entertainment that is wholesome and refreshing, you can avoid harming yourself and also retain your friendship with Jehovah.
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Some videos that are not blatantly immoral still promote harmful ideas
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Resolve that you will not watch things that God disapproves