As a Christian dad who wants to make sure I’m not allowing my kids to entertain themselves with ungodly trash, I’ve done my share of searching for Christian movie reviews.
I truly appreciate that somebody subjects themselves to the trashy movies that come out, so that they can give us an impression of how it reflects on Christianity, faith, morality, and overall spiritual health, without us having to be subjected to the trash ourselves. Thank you, whoever you are! (I wonder sometimes about how that person’s amazing service is impacting the state of their own soul, though. If you’re one of those Christian movie reviewers, I’d love to hear from you on that subject).
But as helpful as those sites are, they can’t provide, for me or my kids, what we really need.
One singer-songwriter, Derek Webb, puts it this way…
That quote comes from a song entitled, “New Law” (the video is below). It’s a sarcastic look at the kinds of things we Christians do, with the best of intentions, that actually takes away the freedom we have in Christ.
So what is the answer? Should we abandon Christian movie reviews altogether? What is it that we really need?
What we truly need is Godly discernment.
I need the wisdom that only God can provide, the ability to look at an issue, or choice, or situation, with the mind of God. That kind of discernment only comes from knowing how to listen to the Spirit of God as He leads me day to day, situation to situation, movie to movie (Galatians 5:16).
He’ll lead me, if I will let Him, through my knowledge of the scriptures, and through the knowledge I have of God Himself.
But if I lean too heavily on the rules, regulations, and movie reviews that are available, I could short-circuit what I need the most – a vibrant, life-directing relationship with God Himself.
My fear about Christian movies reviews
is that in our desire to be “upright” and pleasing to the LORD (a great desire), we saddle ourselves to Derek’s “new law,” a new set of standards, regulations, and rules that are nothing more than a Christian-ized set of boundaries that we commit to staying within. We may be “safe” there, but not for long. It doesn’t really help us.
And it surely doesn’t help our children.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen Christian parents shocked at the things their kids get into once they leave the home. The typical comment is:
I know it wasn’t that parent’s desire for their kid to run off into debauchery once they left the home. That’s why they set up the rules, boundaries, and guidelines they did.
But what they failed to do was three-fold…
1 They didn’t help their child develop a genuine love for Jesus. Jesus Himself said that if we love Him, we will obey Him (John 14:15). The same is true for our children. In order to teach our children to truly love God… a few things have to happen:
- We have to love God, first. Tell your kids to do something that you don’t do, and you’re a hypocrite. Example is huge. You’ve got to go first.
- We have to help them see the wonderful, mind-blowing nature of Jesus. We point it out in His blessings, in the Sunday school memory verses, and in the ways He cares for them in hard times.
- We model and encourage them to be radically-minded about Jesus. All of their life is not too small a price to pay in order to have Jesus.
2 Once devotion to God is growing in a child’s heart, the next thing is for the parents to connect that devotion to the purpose God has for their life. There are some truly amazing things that every Christian child needs to know…
- Their infinite God can actually be honored through their life (2 Timothy 2:21).
- They can be co-workers with God, to accomplish amazing things (1 Corinthians 3:9).
- That means that their lives can be used of Him for eternal, ever-lasting things.
But rather than do the hard work to teach our children these life-altering truths, the tendency is to rely on the rules to modify and corral behavior. It’s easier. It takes less discernment on the parent’s part. It requires less instruction.
But it’s a recipe for disaster. As Derek says, “What’s the use in trading a law you can never keep (Old Testament law), for one you can, but will not get you anything?”
3 The third thing the parents in our example missed is that they didn’t teach their child how to listen to the Spirit of God as He leads them day to day. Every situation is different. The rules, no matter how biblical, don’t always fit the scenario.
What will your kid do then? Will he be used to listening to the Spirit of God so that he can and will follow His leadership? Or will he resort to his own smarts, and stumble along like the rest of the world? Sadly, too many “Christian” kids do the later, because their parents have not equipped them to do anything else.
Use Christian movie reviews, but don’t make a new set of rules out of them…
Your need more.
Your kids need more.
Jesus needs more.
Learn (and teach your kids) to walk by the Spirit, a you will not carry out the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)
Here’s the video from Derek Webb that I mentioned…