Love Beyond the Big Screen

I pulled into the coffee shop parking lot and headed inside to quickly order my latte. Early mornings and me do not go well together. I needed caffeine STAT!

After a few sips of coffee, my brain slowly started creeping toward a somewhat functioning mode.

Why I decided to lead an early morning Bible study I’m not sure. I guess I assumed the girls I invited wouldn’t want to get up that early. I was wrong. They loved the idea. With perky little smiles, the girls slowly started trickling in and gathering around me.

We were having great conversations when somehow, someway, our topic took a sharp right turn. One of the girls dropped the name of a popular chick flick. I think she was trying to connect something from the movie to the topic at hand. The girls didn’t care what the connection was. They were like a pack of dogs that had instantly spotted a big furry squirrel. Their focus had totally shifted to the movie, and our conversation was now completely in the ditch.

“Oh my goodness. Can you believe he ended up with her? I think they’re an awful pair. I was so disappointed.”

“Are you kidding me? I love them together. They are so cute.”

Squirrel!

The chatter continued for a solid fifteen minutes straight.

Instead of refocusing the girls, I decided to let them chase this conversation. I was curious what they, a group of young Christian women, thought about this movie. Without having to pry, I was getting a sneak peak inside their thoughts and ideas.

The conversation did eventually end.

Despite the fact that the movie is filled with all sorts of language, sexual content, and just straight-up garbage, the girls only had good things to say about it.

There was no talk of how we, as Christian girls, should view a movie like that.
No talk of a biblical perspective.
No talk of how far off this movie was from God’s design for love.
No talk of how wrong sex outside of marriage is.
No talk of how painful adultery is.
No talk of consequences.

There were only sighs and squeals.

Hollywood-defined Love

Often movies encourage the idea that we can completely ignore God’s design for love, sex, and romance and still end up happily ever after.

Sex before marriage? Absolutely.
Love based on sparks and chemistry? Of course.
Blurring of gender distinctions? Yes, please.
Following my heart wherever it leads? Duh.
The list goes on.

But let’s look past the big screen at real relationships and figure out what actually works long term, not what the perfectly edited, beautifully portrayed, two-hour movie says works. We need something more concrete. Something with proven results.

Think through these questions with me. Don’t race through them, because the answers matter.

  • If Hollywood’s script for love and romance works so well, why is lasting love so hard to find?
  • If sex outside of marriage satisfies, why does it leave us empty and needing more?
  • If adultery is cute and romantic in the movies, why is it so incredibly painful in real life?
  • If lasting relationships are the goal, why is divorce rampant?
  • If having a healthy, stable family is desirable, why are families more broken than ever?
  • If one-night stands are so fun and thrilling, why do they leave us so miserable?

God’s standards are guardrails, guiding us toward, not away from, lasting love.

When those questions are answered in movies, they can be answered in a way that makes us believe culture-defined love really works. But when we dig deeper and look at the results in real life with real people and real families, we see something completely different. Mainly, that God’s standards are guardrails, guiding us toward, not away from, lasting love.

We can’t change the messages Hollywood is sending, but we can be discerning about what we allow into our hearts and minds. Since Hollywood’s version of love isn’t real, let’s choose to be girls who don’t just go along with whatever plot line they throw at us. Let’s use wisdom and carefully discern what we are putting before our eyes. Let’s be intentional to choose movies that are honoring to God and helpful in our walk with Him.

About Author

Bethany Baird

After a brief experience in the modeling industry, Bethany’s eyes were opened to how self-absorbed and lost her generation of young women really are. She and her older sister were inspired to start a blog (www.GirlDefined.com) and wrote a book Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. Their passion is to help young women find God’s truth about beauty and womanhood and the freedom that comes from living a radically different life for Christ.

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  • sbjazzlife

    I really needed to hear this – thank you, Bethany! I need to give the Lord ALL of the areas of my life, not just the ones I’m comfortable with.

    • LoveinTruth

      Loveintruth

  • Myranda

    This burns a little, but in a good way. Thanks!

    • Melissa L

      Agreed!

  • Gabriela

    Congrats! Well written! I do disagree on the fact that a movie has some cursing and sexual scenes doesn’t make the whole movie a “bad” movie. Some movies you can’t fix, and the overall message of a “perfect love” isn’t the most educational one, I agree. But at the same time I believe that part of being mature and having discernment involves having the ability to watch a movie solely for entertainment. Not to say that what we watch doesn’t influentiate us, but if you are just watching a movie casually and it happens to have an inappropiate scene and inappropiate language, along with a completely unrealistic story line cocerning romance, doesn’t mean that you have to now go and do everything the movie portrays, like please, draw the line between real life and enterntainment, and treat it just as that:enterntainment. Just because a movie says something doesn’t mean we have to go and do it

    • Next time you’re sitting and watching a movie like that, just ask yourself: If Jesus was sitting next to you, would he be happy you were watching the movie? Would he smile and say “this is so enjoyable”? I don’t think so. When he went to relax he prayed alone to his father (Luke 5:16).
      Leaving it up to you what the line is discerning what’s acceptable to watch, but trust me, Satan will use anything to get us to sin, even by what we are thinking.
      God Bless Gabriela!

    • Morgan

      What we expose ourselves to influences us more than we think. The more we see/hear something, the more we think about it, and the more “engraved” into our being it becomes (really, it’s scientifically proven). There’s a reason God only wants us to focus on what is good. If it doesn’t pass the Philippians 4:8 test, it’s probably not something we should hang around. Like Julie said, think as if Jesus were there with you. Because, He is. If you wouldn’t watch it if Jesus were sitting next to you, you shouldn’t watch it at all.

    • Hannah B

      what makes a movie bad then? Just curious

  • Hannah B

    Was this on the girl defined blog? It seems really familiar

  • Deena Maga

    Amen, Bethany!!! I do agree cause paltry a lot of movies when they come to deal with romance they all have to deal with a love and sex the wrong way and I am not for it. Nothing is hidden any more. Which leads one to change the channel.

  • Lily Rose

    i think there are some movies people say don’t matter, but they really matter. thanks, this was super helpful. I’ll think more the next time i am looking for a movie to watch!