Can a Christian Enjoy Entertainment?

Dr. Mel TavaresBy Dr. Mel Tavares6 Minutes

There are many teachings on whether or not it is ok for Christians to enjoy entertainment. Some swing far left and say that all things are permissible (forgetting the Bible says not all things are beneficial) and some swing far right and say all entertainment is from the devil and Christians must avoid it. I tend to follow the more balanced approach.

In Exodus, God modeled having a day of rest, and commanded us to do the same. A legalistic view would be to use the day of rest to read the Bible and pray. Less legalistic views would say spending the day at the park having a picnic is permissible. More permissible views would say God created football and other sports to be enjoyed on a day of rest.

This world is hard and entertainment is a way to alleviate the day-to-day stress by laughing and enjoying a good movie or time with family and friends. Proverbs 17:22 says a joyful heart is good medicine. Research proves this is a scientific fact. We all need to take time to laugh and relax. Endless work and striving is not good.

Considerations in Choosing Entertainment

Learning to evaluate entertainment will keep you from making a diet of viewing or listening to things that promote emotions and desires for things God calls sin, which causes a desensitization. If we fail to discern when values being promoted in a particular song or movie do not align with the Bible, our hearts will be pulled away from God and toward the world.

I have basic questions I ask myself when considering different types of entertainment. As a Christian, I want to be sure that the choices I make are godly options. First, I ask myself what the entertainment is glorifying. If I am listening to music or watching a show, I ask myself if it promotes sexual immorality, crime, and drugs. Or, does it promote healthy relationships and family life? I choose the latter because I know that whatever I dwell on and allow to enter my mind and heart will be the things that begin to grow. I don’t want things that God calls sin to be what I dwell on and allow to grow.

Another question I ask myself is whether or not the entertainment gives me any insight into the complex world we live in. I don’t need to understand criminal minds, unless I am in law enforcement or forensics or am writing fiction books. In those cases, watching shows that give insight would be helpful. I love watching movies about overcoming the odds, which align with my Biblical values of being an overcomer. There are many lessons to be learned from watching any type of sporting events and none more than watching the Olympics. The athletes are disciplined and determined, single-focused, resilient, and resolved. All of us are called to have the character of the Olympic athletes because it is what separates the winners and losers on the field of life.

Finally, I ask myself if there is a task I am putting off because of the entertainment (such as video gaming). Too much of anything is bad for a person including too much entertainment. There is a time to work and a time to rest and engage in recreation and entertainment. Proverbs 6: 6 reminds us to consider the ways of the ant and many passages in Proverbs remind us that the sluggard reaps regrets instead of a harvest. In other words, if it is good weather and time to plant the garden so you have food to eat the following winter; wisdom says stay home and work in the garden, rather than spend the weekend enjoying frivolous entertainment. It’s a matter of priorities and staying balanced.

Judge Not

At the beginning of the article, I said there are many views on whether or not Christians should enjoy entertainment and if so, what types and to what extent. I urge you to not judge others’ convictions and choices, just as you do not want them to judge yours. Let each decide for themselves what is good and godly and in keeping with their Biblical convictions. But as for me, the fact that I am a Christian doesn’t prohibit me from enjoying clean entertainment such as a football game, catching a theatre production, or going to a Christian music concert.