Question:

Hi Mr. Jeff,

I really enjoy your web site. Thank you for sharing it with others. I just wanted to ask you about three questions:

  1. The first question I had was: As followers of Christ, our speech and conduct is supposed to give grace to those who hear. Sometimes I'm confused as to if what I'm saying is wrong or shouldn't be said. Like in the case scenario of someone being late, and I say aloud "they need to hurry up." Is that wrong? Or if I jokingly say to my friend "you need a haircut" is that mean?
  2. As Christians I know that we are to rebuke sinners when they sin. But I know that we aren't to try to force them to stop sinning. So what if I rebuke them for a certain sin like sex outside of marriage, but then later I see that they smoke cigarettes, do I rebuke them for their new sin?
  3. Another question I had was about entertainment. Some shows and movies I watch for the most part are moral but sometimes a cuss word may slip in the show. Should I just avoid the movie or show altogether? What I do is I just ignore the cussing, since I have no temptation to cuss as well. If a movie shows a scene where the characters talk about sex outside of marriage or cuss, or have crude humor in it, but it doesn't tempt me nor give me lustful thoughts, is that wrong if I still watch it? Also can Christians watch scary movies?

Answer:

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).

Edification is the building up of another person so that become better. There is both a positive and negative aspect to edification. Few of us want to hear negative things about us, but since none of us are perfect, it will be necessary to receive rebukes so that we improve. "Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool" (Proverbs 17:10).

Therefore, if someone is running behind time and you gently remind them, it may not be what they want to hear, but it is good for them. Reminding someone that it is time for a haircut isn't bad either or mean.

Correcting someone who is sinning can take several directions. Let's use God as an example. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16). God teaches us:

  • What is right,
  • What is not right,
  • How to get right, and
  • How to stay right.

For many people, they only focus on telling people what is not right. It is necessary and has its place, but what about the other three?

Let's say you have a friend who started smoking. You can tell him that you don't like the smell of it on his breath, but he may not care. So get him to think. Why spend all that money on something that you are going to burn up? Is he aware of the affects of smoking on his body? Go for a run and wonder if the reason he can't catch his breath isn't due to his smoking. Talk about how pleasant it is to go somewhere and not smell smoke, or that your food doesn't taste of tobacco. Mention how you don't like any thing, especially a chemical controlling your life against your will. None of these have to be delivered all at once, but each makes a point toward a better way to live.

When it comes to fornication, you can mention how you treat sex as something special that you want to share only with your wife. You can note that you don't have to worry about STI's and that you don't have the drama of worrying if you got someone pregnant.

While it is good that you resist being influenced by the things you hear and see, the fact remains that these things can and do impact you. "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits"" (I Corinthians 15:33). There is a reason Paul's warning starts out with "Do not be deceived." We have a bad habit of minimizing the influence of others.

Personally, I rarely watch movies or television these days because of the prevalent trash being shown both in the shows and in the ads. When I do watch something, I have a TV Guardian that filters out bad language. If it is a DVD, I have a ClearPlay player that edits out the bad scenes.

All movies are designed to invoke emotions in the viewer. Being scared, in itself, isn't necessarily bad. After all, that is why people ride roller-coasters. You have to watch out for what is being promoted, not what emotions are being invoked. For example, senseless violence in the name of "entertainment" is not good for anyone to watch.