Entertainment and Training in Overcoming Temptation

"I’m torn between the man I love and the man I am dangerously attracted to."

We’re traveling, so we’re watching TV on occasion in our motel rooms, something we don’t get to do at home. An advertisement for some TV program started with the sentence above.

It got me thinking about the state of morality (or, rather, immorality) in Hollywood.

Addressing the dilemma described in the sentence above is not immoral. It’s mere honesty to address the fact that people get torn between someone they love (spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, sibling, child) and someone they are dangerously attracted to. We face temptations of all sorts, and there’s nothing immoral about basing a story on those temptations.

The problem is that in Hollywood’s (and America’s) current moral state, we don’t know whether the TV show’s protagonist is going to choose the man she loves or the one she’s dangerously attracted to.

It wasn’t that long ago that heroes and heroines of TV shows and movies were shining examples of moral fortitude. When faced with temptation, or when propositioned by someone with looser, or perhaps just weaker, morals, they would simply say no. Part of what made them a hero was their ability to choose what was right before God and good (in the long run) for the people involved over what would bring pleasure on the spot.

Dave Ramsey, the well-known financial adviser, radio talk show host, and author, likes to say, “Maturity is the ability to delay pleasure.”

A good movie or TV show used to inspire us to delay pleasure. Heroes were those who could deny themselves, overcoming fear and all our various versions of selfishness, even sacrificing relationships, to do what was right and good and thus save the day.

Now, though, the whole point of a TV show could be obtaining temporary pleasure, even if such pleasure would destroy lives in the long run.

It’s one thing to be torn between “the man you love and the man you’re dangerously attracted to.” All of us face temptation. The question is, will your storyteller give you a new attitude or new method to overcome temptation, or will your storyteller encourage your baser nature, telling you that the power to think long term is beyond you and that belief in a final Judge of right and wrong is out of style?

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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2 Responses to Entertainment and Training in Overcoming Temptation

  1. Mala says:

    I just saw the following quote in a magazine advertisement and I think it says it all about today’s beliefs for many: “The only way to overcome temptation is…. give in to it.” it made me sad. 😦

  2. Allison Musick says:

    I saw that commercial numerous times while I was at my parents’ for the holidays. It always made me want to gag.

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