Is it a sin to be entertained by sin?
This is the thought that greeted me as I pulled into the office parking lot this morning.
Here’s the deal:
I started listening to Francis Chan’s book “Erasing Hell” during my drive, and at just over an hour in, I’ve already paused to weep, repent, and mourn the lost several times over.
It’s gut-wrenching, the idea of hell. The idea of an afterlife of eternal damnation. The idea of people we know and love burning alive for… ever.
And now that that question has posed itself in my mind – the idea that I could be one of them.
Yes, Christ is my savior. I have confessed Him, repented, been baptized in His name, and received the Holy Spirit. I do my best to abstain from sin, and repent when I fail (so, like, every few seconds). I am so grateful that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
I also watch TV shows that glorify lust, fornication, greed, shedding of innocent blood, idolatry, disobedience, rebellion… Don’t even get me started on my recent deep-dive into the world of thriller novels.
Some of these actions dancing across my screen are the things God hates and calls an abomination (Proverbs 6:16-19). The rest, Paul said make the committer worthy of death – and he said this while writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:29-32).
This is the blunt truth of it: I am entertained by the very things that send people to hell.
Putting aside the atrocity of laughing at fornication when I know it’s damning a person to hell, what does this mean for my own soul?
“When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’” (Luke 13:25-27, ESV)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23, ESV)
To sum it up: you can believe yourself to be a partaker of Christ, and be unknown to Him.
This is why Paul cautioned us so strongly to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
I’ll be honest, right now I’m wondering if my sin-entertainment has Jesus wondering who I am.
“Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light… and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret... Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:7-8, 10-12, 15-16, ESV)
Is watching a show about greed, the murder of innocents, and fornication partaking in the unfruitful works of darkness? (Poldark, Law & Order, The Bachelor/ette)
Is referencing sit-coms speaking of the things they do in secret? (Friends, The Office, Parks & Rec)
Is viewing a Disney princess’s rebellion against her parents making the best use of my time? (.. oh.. um.. all of them?)
Where is the line?
And if God asks me to stop seeking out the line, to stop wondering just how far I can go before I’m sinning…
to give all that entertainment up,
and instead to:
be peculiar and walk away from all forms of darkness (1 Peter 2:9)
start searching for Him with my whole heart (Deuteronomy 4:29)
seek to find how close I can become to Him (Proverbs 8:17)
focus the newfound time on pulling souls out of hell (James 5:20)
Am I willing?
Am I willing.
P.S. I have questions like, “What if there’s a good ending? What if the person finds out they were wrong and decides to live righteously thereafter? What if justice wins out, the marriage is restored, and the teenager decides to keep the baby?”
I don’t know the answer, the line, the stopping point.
I only know that this question of sin-entertainment is weighing heavily on me.
I only know that, at minimum, I will be spending some time overhauling my watch/read list tonight.
And, based on the conviction piercing my heart, I only know that I have some repenting to do.