Sometimes I take my favorite lyrics from songs and the best lines from books and movies and write them down. Sometimes I even use them as my Instagram caption. So much beauty can be found in the words and stories that different forms of media give us. Being a Christian in a secular world makes the choice of what media we consume a serious struggle. Hit singles, Oscar-nominated movies, and bestselling novels might contain profanity, sexuality, and violence. Does this mean we should avoid them entirely? Maybe. Maybe not. You have to decide.
The question isn’t necessarily should you or shouldn’t you watch a movie (or put that one song on your playlist). However you should be seeking the beauty in media. Even in darkness, there is always a glimpse of light (John 1:5). So the next time you’re cranking up the radio or binge watching Netflix, keep these questions in mind.
1. Is it optimistic?
Are you listening to too many breakup songs or going overboard with the horror flicks? While these things aren’t inherently terrible, they can be a downer, causing stress or anxiety. Create a positive playlist to get pumped up, and be sure to watch some comedies now and then. Media that is sad and serious can make an impact, but its ability to make us feel good about life is empowering.
2. What is love’s role?
More importantly, does love play a role at all? How do the story’s characters interact? If the lyrics of a song are hateful, violent, or inappropriate, that isn’t beautiful. If love isn’t evident, the story may not be worth your time.
3. Is there character development?
One of the most beautiful parts of a story is watching the main character(s) grow. Look for the stories and music that represent real people who learn a lesson.
4. Is there a happy ending?
I love happy endings. Who doesn’t? The good guys defeat the bad guys. The boy gets the girl. Those types of stories are important because everyone desires a satisfying resolution. Happy endings lift us up, reminding us that a rainbow always follows a storm.