The last few movies I’ve seen have left me terribly dissatisfied. This isn’t to say that these movies were bad. The acting was decent, the storyline was interesting, and man, that is exactly how they rope you in! Good versus evil is not so cut and dry in our society anymore and it is imperative that we guard our hearts from impurity.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. This means that we need to be discerning in our media intake. Christians and non-Christians alike should do more research regarding what they allow into their minds and hearts. The apostle Paul highlights the importance of discernment in the beginning of his letter to the Philippians.
Philippians 1:9-11 “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Movies used to have way more happy endings. Not all of them, of course, but most. And if the movie didn’t have a “happy ending” it at least portrayed some kind of moral or life lesson. There used to be a much clearer distinction between good and evil. Unfortunately, there has been a massive increase in recent films that depict complete lawlessness. Evil characters are not held accountable for their actions, or they get away, or you’re supposed to want them to win (known as an anti-hero).
Here are some of the main themes I see in films nowadays:
- Evil triumphs.
- Evil characters are portrayed as misunderstood.
- The film introduces a moral gray area.
If you start to analyze the movies you’re watching, I guarantee you will see these themes and I would argue that the film industry knows exactly what it is doing by releasing a copious number of films where evil triumphs or bad guys are “misunderstood”. I believe that Hollywood is hoping to make sin commonplace so that it becomes harder to differentiate good and evil or so that we will even sympathize with sin. Eventually, our hearts will be so saturated with these messages of immorality that we won’t be able to distinguish right and wrong. Instead, we will excuse it, or we will laugh it off, diminishing its severity.
Now, in real life, yes, evil sometimes does win, at least in the short term. We live in a fallen world where wickedness is rampant. However, justice and goodness will ALWAYS win in the end because God is in control. Jesus has the final victory! This is why when I watch a movie it is really hard for me to simply “shut up and enjoy it” or think “It’s just a movie” because spiritual warfare is all around us and movies are representations of what happens or what can happen in the real world.
While you could claim that some of these films where evil wins actually teach a “lesson”, it is important to decipher what the goal of the film is. Sometimes a heavy topic will be explored in a film, such as divorce. But if the end goal is to show that divorce is a good thing, then we need to align that message with that of the Bible’s (which is that God hates divorce). The Bible should be our ultimate foundation for morality and what is good. We don’t always need to sit through gory, ruthless movies to get to a life lesson. This isn’t to say that you can never watch these kinds of movies, but again, it is incredibly important that we are discerning. For me personally, I have to monitor what I consume because I am a sensitive person. If I absorb too much depressing or intense content, my soul grows heavy.
I hope others are as disturbed by this trend as I am. And I hope to see more wholesome films where good wins in the end. There is enough cruelty in the world around us without also watching it for entertainment. Find the line between being informed and guarding your heart. Do not let the corruption of the entertainment industry burden your heart or confuse your spirit. May the God of Peace grant you discernment and understanding! Amen.