“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness (Matthew 6:22-23)!”
Perhaps you’ve heard of those statistics about television viewing? The average American watches more than four hours of TV each day. In a 65 year life, that person will have spent 9 years of their short time on earth watching the tube.1 How many walks, conversations, projects and worthwhile ventures are sacrificed to this passive endeavor?
By the time a child completes elementary school they will have witnessed 8,000 murders and 200,000 violent acts by high school graduation. Now with mobile viewing capable of taking programming along to watch anywhere at any time this may be multiplied for younger generations.
As sobering as this may be for some there is evidence emerging from new research that indicates that television viewing may in fact be literally robbing years from our lives, contributing to earlier deaths. In a review of eight studies a Harvard professor concludes that each two hour increase in daily TV viewing is associated with a 20% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, a 13% increased risk of cardiovascular disease and a 13% increased risk of death from any cause.2 Not to be too alarming but your TV may be killing you.
If you take time to consider the programming being offered it is really hard to justify the trade-offs made by so many. Reality shows in which scheming and manipulation is encouraged, comedies and dramas in which fornication/adultery is implied or openly portrayed. For more than a decade TV writers have depicted homosexuality as acceptable while fathers are cast as morons. Whether or not one accepts that these portrayals have any influence on the culture can any Christian defend them as profitable?
Laying aside any chance that Television has a corrupting influence on an individual (1 Corinthians 15:33) it is unquestionably a bandit. Yes there is certainly some worthwhile programming for the discerning and television provides a mind break after a taxing day. But for that matter, a walk, drive, or a book offer this as well. Biblical illiteracy is destroying legions (Hosea 4:5). Generations have marched off into eternity that can quote I Love Lucy, Seinfeld, Criminal Minds, and many others but cannot quote nor have ever read John 12:48 or Acts 17:30-31 (If you don’t recognize these you should look them up). What if each of us traded just one hour per day of television viewing for Bible reading?
It is not a crime to watch television each day. But is there a balance in my life? Am I truly putting the kingdom of God and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33)? In light of the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) have I profitably utilized the time He has entrusted to me (Ephesians 5:14-16)? By age 70 that would be two and a half years to counter the years of dim cultural light cast through that window in our living rooms. It may be fair to ask who we spend more time with each day and are they the type of characters we’d like to share eternity with? If we can’t answer affirmatively, now that would be a crime.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable will of God (Romans 12:2).”