In the Grip of the Media
By Jessica Jones 5 Minute Read
The last couple of posts I’ve written have touched on some of the dangers of the media and how it can influence our opinions, beliefs, and actions. Today, I want to address another aspect of the media’s impact on our lives: creating addictions and compulsions.
Just as the media can shape the way we think, so it can influence the decisions we make about the things we consume, whether that be the food we eat, the beverages we drink, or the substances we use. In addition, the media can train our minds to think in unholy ways about fellow human beings.
All That Glitters is Not Gold
Often, things that are unhealthy and sinful look very appealing. It is a tendency of humans to want to try out things that seem trendy or fun, or maybe even a little dangerous. But, all that glitters is not gold, and sometimes the things that are most enticing are also the very things that lead us down paths that are destructive.
Advertisements, films, and other forms of media all too often present things that are unhealthy in a positive light, but the result is a subtle message which normalizes those things and shapes the minds of viewers to believe that those things are not wrong.
Ads promoting alcohol, cigarettes, or using scantily clad women in suggestive poses are just a few examples of the ways things that can lead to sinful or unhealthy habits are presented in a positive manner by the media. And, of course, the potential negative effects are left out of the portrayal. Unfortunately, young people are often the targets of such promotions because just like with most things, the media knows that once a habit is formed, they will stand to gain steady customers and therefore a consistent flow of business.
But, this emphasis on presenting unhealthy and sinful things as something that is good is dangerous. Alcohol abuse is rampant, particularly among young people, but also in the lives of adults. Smoking causes all sorts of health issues, from lung cancer to heart issues. And lust all too often leads to the use of pornography and infidelity, which are major causes of divorce. These things not only affect the users but also their families and friends, among others.
The practices of the media are not all that unlike those of the serpent in Genesis 3:1-7. One might call that situation the very first misleading product endorsement, and it was the most devastating of all. The serpent, who was Satan himself, sold Eve a lie, telling her that the fruit would make her wise and powerful. But he left out the small print. He did not mention the horrific effects it would have on humanity. So, Eve looked at the fruit, saw that it looked good, and both she and Adam took the bait. By the time they realized the truth, it was too late.
So, what can we do to avoid being led astray by the media’s tactics and the sinful habits it encourages?
Being on Our Guard
First of all, there is hope. God is merciful and forgiving, abounding in love. His redemptive grace is available to anyone who trusts in Him. If you have fallen prey to these media tactics, He is ready and waiting for you to turn to Him for healing. 1 John 1:9 tells us that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (ESV).
Secondly, we need to be on our guard against the schemes of the devil and of the media.
1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Finally, we need to trust in the Lord and spend time in His Word, allowing His ways to influence the way we think and act. Rather than allowing the media to influence our habits, we must establish godly habits of Bible study, prayer, fellowship, worship, and serving others.