“Do all things for God’s glory.”—1 CORINTHIANS 10:31.
1, 2. Why must we be careful when we choose entertainment?
IMAGINE that you are about to bite into a piece of fruit when you notice that a part of it is rotten. What will you do? Will you eat it anyway? Will you throw it away? Or will you cut out the rotten part and eat the good part?
2 In some ways, entertainment is similar to that piece of fruit. Some of it may be enjoyable, but much of it is rotten because it is immoral, violent, or demonic. So when you choose entertainment, do you say: “It’s up to me. I can choose any entertainment I want”? Or do you say: “All entertainment is bad”? Or do you carefully choose your entertainment, avoiding the bad and enjoying the good?
3. What should we think about when choosing our entertainment?
3 We all need some recreation and entertainment, and we want to choose well. We need to ask ourselves, then, how our choice of entertainment could affect our worship of Jehovah.
“DO ALL THINGS FOR GOD’S GLORY”
4. What is one Bible principle that can help us to choose our entertainment?
4 When we dedicate ourselves to Jehovah, we promise him that we will use our life to serve him. (Read Ecclesiastes 5:4.) We promise that we will “do all things for God’s glory.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) This means that we are dedicated to God even when we are relaxing or enjoying entertainment, not just when we are at meetings or in the field ministry.
5. What kind of worship should we give Jehovah?
5 Everything we do in life is connected to our worship of Jehovah. Paul explained this when he said: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” (Romans 12:1) Jesus said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.” (Mark 12:30) We always want to give Jehovah our best. In ancient Israel, when people sacrificed an animal to Jehovah, they were expected to give a healthy animal. If the sacrifice had something wrong with it, God did not accept it. (Leviticus 22:18-20) In a similar way, our worship could become unacceptable to Jehovah. How?
6, 7. How could our entertainment affect our worship of Jehovah?
6 Jehovah tells us: “You must be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16; 2 Peter 3:11) Jehovah will accept our worship only if it is holy, or clean. (Deuteronomy 15:21) Our worship cannot be clean if we do things Jehovah hates, such as things that are immoral, violent, or connected with demonism. (Romans 6:12-14; 8:13) But it would also displease Jehovah if we allowed ourselves to be entertained by such things. This could make our worship unclean and unacceptable to Jehovah and could seriously damage our relationship with him.
7 So how can we choose our entertainment wisely? What principles will help us identify what entertainment is acceptable and what is not?
HATE WHAT IS BAD
8, 9. What kind of entertainment do we avoid? Why?
8 There are many different types of entertainment available today. Some of it is acceptable for Christians, but much of it is not acceptable. First, let’s identify what kind of entertainment we need to avoid.
9 Many films, websites, television shows, video games, and songs are immoral, violent, or demonic. Bad things are often presented in a way that seems innocent and even funny. But Christians are careful to reject entertainment that does not reflect Jehovah’s clean standards. (Acts 15:28, 29; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) When we reject such entertainment, we show Jehovah that we hate what is bad.—Psalm 34:14; Romans 12:9.
10. What can be the result of bad choices of entertainment?
10 But some feel that there’s nothing wrong with violent, immoral, or demonic entertainment. They think: ‘What is the harm? I would never actually do these things.’ If we think this way, we are fooling ourselves. The Bible says: “The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate.” (Jeremiah 17:9) If we are entertained by things that are unacceptable to Jehovah, how can we say that we hate these things? The more we are entertained by them, the more we will begin to accept them as normal. In time, our conscience will weaken and stop warning us when we are about to make a wrong choice.—Psalm 119:70; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2.
11. How can Galatians 6:7 help us choose our entertainment?
11 God’s Word tells us: “Whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) It is a fact that if we let ourselves be entertained by bad things, in time we may actually do them. For example, some have been so affected by immoral entertainment that they committed immorality themselves. But Jehovah gives us the help we need to choose our entertainment wisely.
USE BIBLE PRINCIPLES TO MAKE DECISIONS
12. What will help us make good decisions regarding our entertainment?
12 Some entertainment is clearly unacceptable to Jehovah, and we know we must avoid it. But what if it is not so clear? Jehovah doesn’t give us a list of rules of what we can and cannot watch, listen to, or read. Instead, he wants us to use our Bible-trained conscience. (Read Galatians 6:5.) Jehovah gives us principles, that is, basic truths that teach us how he views matters. These principles help train our conscience. They help us know “what the will of Jehovah is” so that we can make choices that will please him.—Ephesians 5:17.
13. Why do Christians make different decisions about entertainment? But what matters to all Christians?
13 Often, what one Christian chooses as entertainment is different from what another does. Why? Well, we all like different things. Also, what may be acceptable to one person might not be acceptable to someone else. Even so, to make good decisions, all Christians must be guided by Bible principles. (Philippians 1:9) These will help us to choose entertainment that is acceptable to God.—Psalm 119:11, 129; 1 Peter 2:16.
14. (a) What is important to consider regarding how we use time? (b) What counsel did Paul give to Christians?
14 Another thing to consider is how much time we spend on entertainment. This can reveal how important entertainment is to us. As Christians, our service to Jehovah is the most important thing in our lives. (Read Matthew 6:33.) But without realizing it, we could allow entertainment to take up more and more of our time. Paul advised Christians: “Watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, making the best use of your time.” (Ephesians 5:15, 16) So we need to set limits on the amount of time we spend on entertainment and always make sure that our service to God has first place in our lives.—Philippians 1:10.
15. How do we protect ourselves from entertainment that could harm our relationship with Jehovah?
15 Clearly, we must reject entertainment that we know is unacceptable to Jehovah. But what about entertainment that we may have doubts about? Do we still need to be careful? Think about this. If you are walking along a mountain path, do you go as close as you can to the edge? No. If you value your life, you stay far away from danger. It is similar with our choice of entertainment. God’s Word tells us: “Turn your feet away from what is bad.” (Proverbs 4:25-27) So we not only avoid entertainment that we know is bad, but we also stay away from any entertainment that we suspect might not be good for us and might harm our relationship with Jehovah.
GETTING JEHOVAH’S VIEW
16. (a) What are some things that Jehovah hates? (b) How do we show that we hate what Jehovah hates?
16 The psalmist wrote: “O you who love Jehovah, hate what is bad.” (Psalm 97:10) The Bible teaches us how Jehovah thinks and feels. Ask yourself how what you learn can help you to view things as Jehovah does. For example, we learn that Jehovah hates “a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart plotting wicked schemes, and feet that run quickly to evil.” (Proverbs 6:16-19) We learn that we must avoid “sexual immorality, . . . idolatry, spiritism, . . . jealousy, fits of anger, . . . envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and things like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Do you see how these Bible principles can help you to choose your entertainment? We want to follow Jehovah’s standards in all areas of our life, both when we are with others and when we are by ourselves. (2 Corinthians 3:18) In fact, the choices we make when we are alone often reveal the kind of person we really are.—Psalm 11:4; 16:8.
17. Before choosing entertainment, what questions should we ask ourselves?
17 Thus, when you choose entertainment, ask yourself: ‘How will my choice affect my relationship with Jehovah? How will it affect my conscience?’ Let’s examine some other principles that can help us when choosing entertainment.
18, 19. (a) What advice did Paul give to Christians? (b) What principles will help us to choose our entertainment?
18 When we choose our entertainment, we are choosing what to fill our mind with. Paul wrote: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well-spoken-of, whatever things are virtuous, and whatever things are praiseworthy, continue considering these things.” (Philippians 4:8) When we fill our mind with such good things, we can say: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Jehovah.”—Psalm 19:14.
19 Ask yourself: ‘What am I filling my mind with? After watching a particular movie or show, do I have pleasant, refreshing thoughts? Do I feel at peace, having a good conscience? (Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:5, 19) Do I feel free to pray to Jehovah? Or do I feel bad? Did the entertainment make me think about violent or immoral things? (Matthew 12:33; Mark 7:20-23) By the entertainment I choose, am I being “molded by this system of things”?’ (Romans 12:2) Our honest answers can help us see what we need to do to keep our relationship with Jehovah strong. We want to pray as the psalmist did: “Turn my eyes away from looking at what is worthless.” *—Psalm 119:37.
OUR DECISIONS AFFECT OTHERS
20, 21. Why do we need to consider the feelings of others when we choose our entertainment?
20 Another important principle to keep in mind is this: “All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, 24) Just because we have the freedom to do something does not mean that we should do it. We must think carefully about how our decisions affect our brothers and sisters.
21 Not everyone’s conscience is the same. For example, your conscience may allow you to watch a certain television program. But then you learn that the same program bothers the conscience of your brother or sister. What will you do? Even though you have the right to watch it, you may decide not to. Why? Because you don’t want to “sin against your brothers”—or even be “sinning against Christ.” (1 Corinthians 8:12) We do not want to do anything that will stumble our fellow Christian.—Romans 14:1; 15:1; 1 Corinthians 10:32.
22. How will we show that we are reasonable when it comes to the choices made by other Christians?
22 On the other hand, what if your conscience does not allow you to watch, read, or do something that someone else feels is acceptable? Because you love and respect your brother, you would not put pressure on him to make the same choices as you. A person driving a vehicle knows that others may drive faster or slower than he does and still be good drivers. In a similar way, you and another brother may both be following Bible principles yet have slightly different opinions as to what entertainment is acceptable.—Ecclesiastes 7:16; Philippians 4:5.
23. What will help us choose our entertainment well?
23 So, what will help us to choose our entertainment well? When we use our conscience that has been trained by Bible principles and we really care about our brothers and sisters, we will choose well. And we will feel happy that we are doing “all things for God’s glory.”
^ par. 19 We can find more principles that can help us choose entertainment at Proverbs 3:31; 13:20; Ephesians 5:3, 4; and Colossians 3:5, 8, 20.