Of all the admonishments and warnings in the Bible, God reserves some of his most severe rebukes for one particular type of sin: the sin of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 states that deeds of the flesh include “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”
Paul even goes so far as to state that those who practice these sins “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” As Christians, these are sins that we can observe quickly and flee very fast from. They’re not “respectable sins,” as Jerry Bridges puts it. These are sins that we should identify and turn from when tempted.
As I read through this passage, an American cultural television staple came to mind: “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” franchise. This television series has become a household name over the past two decades, amassing nearly 19 million viewers per episode during its most popular seasons. Even many Christians can be counted as fans of this depraved show, while overlooking the overt sexual immorality and drunkenness that occurs in every episode.
For those of you less familiar with it, “The Bachelor” basically operates like this: One man courts upwards of 20 women at once, all of whom are living together for the duration of the courtship. Within the house, the women are fed alcohol purposefully by producers in order to stir up drama and capture embarrassing moments for ratings.
As competition inevitably ensues, factions are formed within the group of girls, which, in turn, creates more and more disputes, outbursts of anger, and green-eyed jealousy. In order to gain closer access to the Bachelor, no cards are off the table, even the most sensual of acts. As time goes on, women are kicked off the show, one by one, after weeks and months of dating a man they barely know. Finally, at the end of the show, the man has a very hard decision — choosing between the two loves of his life. How romantic!
Each season finale ends with a “Where are they now?” closing episode called “After the Final Rose.” Based on the tears, drama, and usually-by-then-canceled engagements, viewers can easily conclude that this is no way to seek and find a marriage. Very few of the relationships end in long-term unions and much emotional damage is done along the way. However, professing Christians all over the country host “Bachelor Night” watch parties and then gather around the TV with snacks to watch the decadent drama.
If you’re an avid watcher of “The Bachelor” or you have no idea what it is, understand that it is not harmless entertainment. Here are a couple of things to consider as to why Christians should dump “The Bachelor.”
The institute of marriage is created by, ordained by, governed by, and ruled over by God. It is the very foundation of the family which shapes society and the state of the future. It is a covenant, not a piece of paper. And it certainly isn’t something to be viewed so flippantly as the world views it. “The Bachelor” insists that the search for the right person with which to enter the covenant of marriage can start in the midst of sexual immorality, polygamy, and jealousy and somehow maintain itself after the cameras turn off. It begins under the most unnatural of terms and ends by bringing unnecessary and unavoidable baggage into the marriage — if it survives.
In fact, I propose that “The Bachelor’s” romanticization of such a low view of marriage has contributed to the low view of marriage that society has (though it is by no means the only factor).
Single girls, either longing for a relationship themselves or decidedly avoiding marriage, gather around the television to watch grown men date multiple women, make out with multiple women, and tell multiple women they love them, only to break their hearts in the end. The girls on the show, on the other hand, are wearing their hearts on their sleeves, viciously gossiping about their perceived competitors, demonstrating envy and lack of contentment, manipulating one another and the man they are trying to win over — all to end up hurt and alone. There’s nothing good about the show, and certainly, it doesn’t paint marriage — or dating in order to get married — as something worthwhile.
In Philippians 4:8-9, Paul provides some really good self-help advice for Christians who want to be happy and content. He writes,
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
We should sincerely ask ourselves if spending an evening indulging in “The Bachelor” falls under any of these categories. If we’re honest, of course, the answer is no. Further, are women who watch “The Bachelor” being wise in protecting their hearts and minds against lust, comparison, idolatry, and emotional porn? Again, the answer is clearly no.
I’m sure some readers will respond that this is true about other shows, movies, and books that women like to consume, but I would consistently assert that consuming any content promoting that which God hates is not beneficial or edifying to the Christian believer. In fact, one who possesses the Holy Spirit should not even have the interest or desire to consume such things.
Even more so, we should be careful to guard our hearts and minds against temptation and evil. If you grew up in a Christian home, you probably were taught the song “Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.” The same principle applies here.
I’m not here to bind my conscience to yours and demand that all Christians should stop watching “The Bachelor.” Perhaps you feel you can watch the sexually immoral scenes and believe that it’s not real because everyone is just (over) acting their part for the purpose of entertaining audiences, and so it doesn’t affect your outlook on marriage or the opposite sex does it nor harm anyone else.
However, I am here to remind you that it is our duty as Christians to flee from sin and reject evil — even if it seems harmless.
And in that vein, here just a few things to consider with any content you watch and consume. Ask yourself: Is this good? Honorable? Pure? Commendable? Does it encourage me to walk by the Spirit or the flesh? And what am I teaching my children by watching this?
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