Speaking the Truth in Love

Judgment Scenes and TV Screens

One night Jim has a dream. He is standing before the great white throne of Christ on judgment day. Jim trembles with anxiety as he steps forward to hear the decision that will determine his eternal destiny. After fixing Jim with a loving but piercing glance, the Lord begins to speak. “Jim,” rumbles the majestic voice, “you are to be judged in a manner that you probably didn’t expect. On the great screen in front of you I will display various scenes from the television programs and movies you habitually watched in your home. Based on the content of these scenes, I will decide whether you are my true disciple.” If Jim is a typical American Christian, he will probably wake up in a cold sweat.

About 10 years ago, I was teaching a middle school Bible class. One Sunday morning I asked my students the following question: “If the Lord judged a typical Christian solely on the basis of his TV and movie choices, where would he be in eternity?” With no hesitation whatsoever, the young people replied, “In hell.”

Perhaps children are able to see something in adults that we have been reluctant to acknowledge. That is, the viewing habits of the typical Christian are entirely inconsistent with a profession of faith in Christ. In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul urged: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). And the author of Hebrews warned the disciples to strive “for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

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