Is it a sin to watch movies? Should Christians go to movies?
The believer is not prohibited from watching movies. Instead, Christians are called to a higher standard regarding which movies to watch and how many movies we watch.
First, a movie is simply a story on a screen. The story can be good or evil, beneficial or harmful. The wise choice is to take time to evaluate whether the movie will be good and beneficial for your life. This will vary some from one person to the next, but it is helpful to invest a little time to know what the movie will include before watching it. A couple of helpful websites in this area include pluggedin.com and commonsensemedia.org. A good rule to follow is to ask, "If Jesus was sitting next to me during this film, would I still be glad I was here?" If not, consider choosing another film. It is also a wise and godly choice to leave during the middle of a film if you find yourself watching a film you think to be inappropriate.
Second, a Christian must consider if the amount of film being watched is honoring to God. Ephesians 5:15-16 states, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." Ask yourself, "If Jesus came back today, would I regret that I watched this film?" If the answer is yes, then figure out what you would not regret and do that instead.
Third, our movie ticket purchases send a message to filmmakers. When we spend money on films with a negative message or inappropriate content, it tells filmmakers the public wants more films similar to it. Likewise, rejecting negative films and supporting films with a positive message encourages filmmakers to make more films that encourage and inspire.
Films can entertain, inspire, instruct, and influence. The films we watch and the films we consider our favorites say much about what we consider important. We are called to embrace what is good and to reject what is evil. While we have freedom in Christ to choose what to watch (1 Corinthians 10:23), this does not make every film beneficial for the believer.
Further, it is appropriate to support films with a positive message that reflect our beliefs. Whether explicitly Christian or simply a film reflecting biblical values, such films can help change lives in helpful ways consistent with our beliefs, including our own.
Finally, remember films are ultimately made by people. These people need our prayers, not just our criticisms of films we do not like, and can be encouraged toward films that honor God. Our choice of films, amount of movies we watch, support of particular films, and attitude toward filmmakers are all important to God.
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