Five questions to ask when watching music videos
Is the latest clip from Rhianna, Jason Derulo or Beyonce helping or hindering your faith?
Music is all around us, and music videos are on our TV screens, computers and handheld devices. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself some basic questions when watching a music video?
As Christians we want to be discerning viewers. We live in a world that so often bombards us with ideas and concepts that are the total opposite of the way God want us to live. Like Paul prayed for the Philippians, we should strive to live with discernment, remembering we are citizens of heaven:
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." Philippians 1:9-10.
With that in mind, here are 5 helpful questions to ask yourself when you watch a music video.
1. What is this video telling me is important in life?
This is a great question to ask ourselves, which helps us with discernment because we want to make sure that the things that we fill our minds with are godly things.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
We can so quickly accept the values that the world places in front of us without questioning them and take them into our hearts. So as you watch, ask yourself: what is this music video telling you is important about relationships, about sex, about money and about your life’s purpose? Does the Bible agree with these views? And if it doesn’t, you need to question if you are being swayed to trust more in the world and stop trusting in what the Bible says.
2. Am I comparing myself or my life to the world in the music video?
So often we can get tripped up by what Hollywood presents to us on our screens. We know that it isn’t real, but we can still begin to desire the life that movies or music videos present to us; the cars, the perfect looking relationships, the stunning scenes and the constant fun everyone is having. But this can become negative when we start to be discontent with the life God has given us and we begin to grumble and covet. Rather, we are to be thankful with what God has given us and be content.
“...Be content with what you have...” Hebrews 13:5
3. Is this video pretty much soft porn?
This could be seen as an odd question by some, but the way the music industry is going these days we just keep seeing more and more skin and sexual themes portrayed in music videos. It isn’t a far leap to say that the over-sexualised images that we keep seeing in these music videos are soft porn. These images are not helpful for keeping our minds pure and we want to make sure we ask the question and turn off the video if it is unhelpful. This requires self control, and we need to ask God for help in doing this.
4. Would it be ok for me to listen to this song and just not watch the video?
Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer for this question and it is more a case-by-case question. Some songs seem to have relatively harmless lyrics and then when you watch the music video that goes with the song, you are shocked at the images that appear. But this is the exception rather than the rule. The more regular case is a song that has strong themes which are translated into images on our screens. In this case, it may be best to stop listening, especially if the lyrics are not helping you with the previous 3 questions we have been thinking about.
5. What else could I be doing right now that would better serve Jesus?
Although music videos are often fun to watch, I can easily find myself having wasted a whole morning. It could be watching the countdown to the top 10 on TV, or spending hours on YouTube because I’ve followed the link to the next video, and the next and the next and ... you get the idea. As with anything it can be fine in moderation, but often our self control goes out the window and really there are much better things we can be doing with our time.
The world wants to tell us that fame, money and fortune are the most important things in this world and ultimately that everything out there in the world should be serving us and our desires. But God tells us the exact opposite! He tells us that we are to love Him, serve Him and serve others with our time and with what we have. Check out how Jesus sums up the 10 Commandments in a neat little package:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Could you turn off the screen, stop watching the videos, and spend more time serving your family, friends, your local church, your school and the people in your community? Instead of listening to the message of the world in music videos, let’s cling to the words of Jesus in the Bible and let them be our guide to help us be live our lives for Him.