Thanks, Hollywood?

There’s a fortune-cookie “curse” that says, “May you live in interesting times.” The recent spate of movies from Hollywood that have purportedly Christian themes has certainly made the last few months interesting. I’m referring to “Son of God,” “Noah,” “God’s Not Dead,” “Heaven Is Real,” and the upcoming “Persecuted” (to be released this summer), “Left Behind” (to be released this fall), and “Exodus” (to be released near Christmas 2014). The times have certainly been interesting, with Christians and non-Christians both hailing and assailing the films. But does it have to be a curse?

I have to admit upfront that I have not seen any of these movies, but I do plan to see most of them, if not all of them. And that’s where some of the interesting times begin. The primary questions that usually come up are: “Should Christians watch movies that do not reflect Christian or biblical worldviews or ideas?” “Should Christians support—with their money or their time—so-called Christian movies that are, perhaps, less than biblical?” These are legitimate questions that ought to be considered by each individual as they approach the ticket counter. However, we shouldn’t be using them as a test of each other’s orthodoxy. While it’s fair to answer those questions and make choices based on our own answers, it’s not our place to judge another Christian by whether they attend such movies or not. In Romans 14:4, Paul asks, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?”

It seems better to view these movies as opportunities, rather than curses. Obviously, people are talking about them, both Christians and non-Christians. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to share the Good News about God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus? Paul wrote in Colossians 4:5, 6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

It’s probably true that not everybody ought to see every movie that is coming out, but if you do choose to see these films, prepare yourself to talk to others about what you see and hear. Be prepared to tell others why you liked the movie or how the movie’s plot differed from the Bible or from what you believe. Be prepared to share your faith and how it guided you to watch the movie and how it has helped you grow after watching the movie.

Try to avoid public arguments, especially with other believers—and by “public” I mean on Facebook, as well as at a coffeeshop or at work. When Christians argue about things like movies, it usually just makes us look childish and undermines our attempts to share the truth of God’s Word. However, opposing viewpoints might be the obstacles that are keeping unbelievers from trusting God and following Jesus. Be prepared to stand for what you believe, but more importantly, prepare yourself to answer the hard questions and prepare yourself to say, “I don’t know, but we can find out together.”

The days are certainly interesting, but rather than letting them become a curse, let’s work together and make the most of every opportunity. Then we can help others avoid the curse of sin and death and take hold of the blessings of trusting Jesus. Don’t forget the popcorn!