God's Mercy

Grace For The TV Watching Family.

March 20, 2016
This post contains some affiliates.

I am outing our family:

We watch TV. In fact, we love TV.
Watching TV is one of our favourite past-times as a family. I’ve already blogged about some good TV shows to watch with your husband. Our current favourites would be: Person of Interest and Vikings. On Saturday’s and Sunday’s, we eat dinner together in front of a TV show suitable for us all {Home Improvement has been a favourite}. The kids favourite shows are Fireman Sam, Curious George, Jake & The Neverland Pirates and Paw Patrol.
There. We are bare and open, ready for reproof and various links to the bad effects of watching TV.
But, before you do, let me just share a few points to ponder.
In my opinion {and that is what it is, so you’re welcome to disagree!}, there is no right or wrong on this issue. It is a “first-world” problem, and we need to keep that in perspective. At the same time, we shouldn’t feel ashamed that we live in the great abundance that we do. It’s all about keeping everything in it’s right place, knowing where – as an individual family – to draw the line.
Places where we can draw the line could be:

  • How much you as a couple watch and what
  • How much you allow the children to watch and what
  • What level of worldliness is appropriate for ourselves {catering to what tempts us, causes us to draw away from the Lord}
  • How you balance responsibility and hard work with free time and leisure
When I think about different families choices on this matter, the verses from Romans comes to mind:
“Therefore, let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it is unclean.” 14:13-14

Now, Paul is talking about the divisions among the Roman church in regards to what food to eat and not eat now as Christians. Today, food is not often a point of conflict in the church family. Rather, other issues are: alchahol, schooling for children, hobbies, politics, worship and, my topic, TV watching. 
I think that Paul’s words of wisdom and advice are very applicable to us in these ways: Let us have a clear conscience in matters of peripherial Christian living, but care and love those who differ in thought and habit.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” ~ vs.17 

Do you see what Paul is saying here? Being a Christian family {as his earthly kingdom} isn’t about all the “rules” we follow. 
As a member of the Anglican Church, we have lots of Church laws and committees and synods and administration – all based on the particular theological grounding we stand on. And these things are good, they keep our parishes and dioceses running worldwide. When kept in the place they need to be, rules keep unity and fellowship working. But when certain laws or preferences or practices begin to divide the Christian church, this is when we need to remember that furthering God’s kingdom will only come about by our “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 
Watching TV or not watching TV {or any other issue} is a preference. A family’s choice not to watch TV could be based on really good scientific research and personal experience – but it is still a preference, not a law.

“So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” ~ vs.19

The absolute beauty of our worldwide Church is the difference and variety. I am glad there are different denominations and I believe God has worked it this way. We are all different and our faith is fleshed out in worship in different manners. And I believe the freedom we have been given to worship him in our church settings is also in our personal preferences and hobbies. 
Of course, I am not advocating sinful choices. But you’re smart, you know that.
All we need to be, as the next verses show, is sure of our preferences before God. It’s between him and ourselves, no one else. Faith is what we need. Faith that, as we entrust ourselves to him and seek his wisdom and pleasure in our choices, we are committing no sin – even if the choices we make look different to others.

“The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgement on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” ~ 22-23

So my fellow Christian TV watchers and non-watchers – great! Keep going, keep holding firmly to the preferences you hold before the Lord. But don’t be ashamed or distressed or wracked with confused guilt if you are different. It is between you and the Lord, and no-one else {Romans 14:6}.

Let’s have a conversation! Would love other people’s thoughts and family experiences.

  1. This is something we are currently studying in our Bible study–the differences within the church. Our pastor shared a sermon series called Thinking Biblically, Living Graciously, and it really opened my eyes to the beauty within the church when we are free to live out our Christian faith as God has called us. Of course, as you mentioned, this does not excuse sin.

    We personally don't watch a lot of TV all the time, but there are definitely seasons where it becomes more necessary just to get through the day with little ones. 😉 Finding balance is key, but that will look difference for each family.

  2. Visiting as your neighbor today at the Linkup at Mama Moment Monday Linkup. I think you are right about balance regarding TV and anything else. I any number of created things have the potential for good and the potential for bad depending on what we use it for, etc. If we watch TV to the exclusion of conversations and reading and being physically active then I think we are slipping out of balance, but if we are talking as a family, everyone enjoys reading, and we are playing games and enjoying other things I think the judgments about TV need to stop.

  3. “Finding balance is the key” – exactly. And I'm realising that my kids won't be ruined if they watch an extra half an hour of TV because Mummy needs a rest, or Mummy and Daddy need to talk, or dinner needs making.

  4. I so admire your boldness to tackle these issues that often divide us. It seems that we all get worked into a tizzy about things that don't really determine our salvation. I know that I try to be careful in sharing things with others that I and my husband feel freedom in that others don't. We really enjoy our tv time together when the kids are finally asleep! We also have been watching person of interest! You have made so many great points here. It really is about keeping everything in it's rightful place as you said and being obedient to our personal convictions.

  5. Thank you, Rebekah {though I don't feel bold!}. I see some thoughts about these things around the net and I know how they make me feel, unbiblically guilty. The feelings I feel isn't true conviction, rather false guilt from the opinions of other {well-meaning} Christians. There is great freedom. Just look at our world and tell me God made all flowers the same 😉

  6. Love this post. My husband and I are “hands free” (no technology) until after the kids go to bed. We want our time as a family to be about interacting with one another and, since we both have full time jobs, we want that time to soak up our 2 toddlers. But by 8 p.m., we're brain dead and TV watching is actually our “couple time.” We love to watch a show and the news and discuss without the kiddos interrupting. It's all about balance.

  7. Appreciate your perspective on this one friend <3. I struggle in my conscience with how much t.v. I should let my littles watch- I can't say I worry about what other people think, but I fear that I use it more out of laziness at times, not necessarily lovingly giving my best to my kids. Lately I've been trying to think, what would I do with them right now if I didn't have a television? Of course there are times when I feel absolute zero guilt- when I'm sick or they are sick, difficult seasons of pregnancy or having a newborn, etc. I haven't figured out our good every day balance yet, so thank you for adding some grace and helpful points to consider as I continue to wage my mental battle ha ha ha. But you are right- there are no absolute, black and white Biblical commands on this one {apart from blatant sin, as you pointed out}. So much freedom and grace in Christ!

  8. I definitely believe it is what your conscience is at peace with. My kids can watch TV from the time they get up {between 6 -6.30 usually} to about 7, and then they can have TV time from 3-4pm. If they have TV before then, they can't have it at the normal time. This is my *ideal*. But there are days where they watch more than I feel comfortable about. What I do feel good about is that they only watch things I pick. We don't have free-to-air TV, only Netflix and DVD's. So I know what they're watching is quality.

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