Many people are outraged at the debut of the movie “Cuties” on Netflix, and rightfully so. However, as I cancelled my Netflix account as a result of that movie, I am reminded of just how much I had already endured with Netflix and all other sources where I would watch my movies and tv shows all in the name of being entertained.
It is strange for me to think that Jesus said “whoever looks at a woman (or person) lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart”, and yet consumers of the entertainment industry, like myself, have been supporting actors and actresses living in sin all for the sake of my personal entertainment. I am convinced that Christians in general have become far too desensitized to the adultery that occurs on the movie screens that most Christians don’t even acknowledge that what they are watching is two people committing adultery continually on screen together.
For example, when a husband and wife kiss in a movie, they are not truly husband and wife. Yet, they are two “strangers” who are not married to each other being paid to simulate an act that only married people are to participate in with each other. If I were to come home and find my wife kissing another man, I would (and should) be outraged! However, if my wife were an actress for a movie that involved her kissing another man so that she can portray his wife on-screen, it would be socially acceptable for me to not be bothered by that if I were to witness the filming of that scene. Do you see the problem here? Christians, for years, have been desensitized more and more at the adulteries we witness on screen. I don’t think for a second that I am alone in that I have watched many tv shows and movies that most people would think to be rather innocent, but in reality they still portray two people committing adultery by simulating actions that should only be shared between a husband and wife.
As we are repulsed by movies like “Cuties”, I think it is also important to remember that the definition of adultery is far more expansive than what most people would like it to be. The atrocities in “Cuties” are just as sinful to God as when a person looks at another person with lust. The Gospel message is that all have fallen short of God’s glory and therefore we all deserve God’s perfect justice and punishment for eternity in hell. However, in His lovingkindness He made a way for sinners, like myself, to be reconciled to Him (a holy God) so that I can be forgiven of my sins through Jesus Christ taking the punishment I deserve upon Himself and have eternal life in heaven. Hell is a place that is nothing but pain and suffering under God’s wrath, while heaven is a place that is completely absent of pain and suffering because it is eternity in God’s glory and presence. Hell will never be bearable over time, and heaven will never become boring or lose its sense of wonder.
Keep in mind that the penalty of adultery was death under the Old Testament law, but because of Jesus Christ’s substitutionary atoning death, all adulterers today can be saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, those who produced and supported the making of “Cuties” are evil. But they are not evil because their sins are worse than ours; they are evil because, like the rest of us, have all committed adultery against God which is punishable by death, not to mention that we have also broken the rest of God’s commands in the Ten Commandments.
There are many tv shows and movies that I no longer watch just due to the fact that God has been faithful in constantly sanctifying me and teaching me more about what He loves and what He hates. Although I know that my current choices are not perfect, my wife and I do enjoy having fruitful discussions of how we should be choosing what to watch and allow our kids to watch. Sometimes we feel that most shows and movies we watch and some redemptive value in it if it can lead to Gospel-centered discussions with our children concerning what is right and wrong according to God.
My challenge to Christians, and myself, is this: if you are outraged by “Cuties” (which I hope you are), how do you reconcile other tv shows and/or movies that you enjoy that incorporate more “acceptable” forms of adultery? What are your guiding principles that you use to decide what your faith allows you to watch with a clean conscience?