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What Does The Bible Say About Watching Bad Things?

There are plenty of movies, videos, and television shows for us to watch today. Because what you view impacts you,  it’s worth considering what God thinks about what we watch. If you’ve wondered how to navigate this topic, especially regarding what you watch, here are some thoughts on what God’s Word says about watching bad things. 

Can Christians watch inappropriate movies?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

The verse says, Whatever you do. Of course, this includes what you’re watching on TikTok, YouTube, or at a movie theater. Before we view anything, we must ask ourselves, Does what I’m about to see glorify God? If we’re sure it doesn’t, the next question would be, Why am I watching it? 

What about others? 

Besides asking ourselves whether what we view glorifies God, we must consider how our actions could affect others. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul encourages followers of Christ not to do things that could cause other believers to stumble. Specifically, Paul was addressing the issue of meat sacrificed to idols. 

In ancient Corinth, idol sacrifices to gods and goddesses were common. The meat used in these sacrifices was sold in the outdoor markets. Jewish believers felt it would be idolatrous to buy and eat this meat. Gentile believers, on the other hand, said the meat was fine and that it wasn’t idolatrous to eat it because gods and goddesses weren’t real. These two differing views caused problems for these believers in the early church at Corinth. 

The Jerusalem Council finally addressed the problem, encouraging believers to abstain from eating the meat used in the sacrifices. This decision protected Gentiles from being accused of idol worship. Also, Jewish believers could, in good conscience, eat the meat since it wasn’t used for worshipping false gods.  

The council’s decision encouraged believers to be thoughtful towards one another. Paul takes it a step further, saying that, although eating this meat isn’t a moral problem since it is food, if what a believer eats causes a brother or sister to stumble, it is wrong to eat it. ( 1 Corinthians 8:7-12)

So if eating meat offered to idols is going to make my brother [or sister] sin, I’ll not eat any of it as long as I live because I don’t want to do this to him. ( 1 Corinthians 8:13 Living Bible)

Of course, today, we don’t worry about buying meat sacrificed to idols, but we can apply the same principle to our lives. It’s important to understand that what we do can affect other believers. If we choose to watch bad things and others see us or hear about it, it may cause another brother or sister to sin. It’s worth applying Paul’s principle to our lives out of love for others. 

If we say, and think that what we do in private won’t affect others, then we probably don’t fully understand who God is and what it means to be his follower.

For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, And He carefully watches all of his paths [all of his comings and goings]. (Proverbs 5:21 Amplified Bible)

What does God say about watching bad things?

Although you won’t find a verse in the Bible that says we shouldn’t watch bad things, that doesn’t mean that God condones it. Psalm 101:3 speaks well to this issue, saying, 

I will set no sinful thing in front of my eyes. I hate the work of those who are not faithful. It will not get hold of me. 

The psalmist knew that a diet of watching bad things would affect us to the point where we start to copy the bad behavior. God’s word encourages how to live. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

We must examine our motivations for watching bad things. We must ask ourselves some hard questions to understand our hearts. A couple of questions might be:

  • Do I enjoy watching sinful things? Why?
  • Will watching this movie or video or following this TikTok influencer bring me closer to God?
  • Would God be glorified if I watched this?
  • Why am I watching this? Who am I watching this for? Is it for me or God? Am I looking for other people’s approval by following the crowd? 
  • If my friends watch bad things, do I feel pressured to join in?  

It’s always good to question our motives to find out what’s going on in our hearts. We must pray and ask God to help us when we’re tempted to watch bad things we know we shouldn’t be watching. We can also ask other mature Christians to be accountable to us and to pray for us when we’re tempted. 

What are the consequences of watching bad things?

The biggest consequence of a constant diet of watching bad things is that our hearts drift from God toward the world. We grow cold towards the things of God. The world becomes more fun and appealing.  If we’re reading God’s word and having fellowship with other believers, no doubt we won’t want to watch bad things, but if we neglect these things, over time, we will drift away from God and other Christians. Maybe we’ll compromise in our decisions, justifying giving in to sin and ignoring the Holy Spirit’s conviction. 

No one falls away from Christ in a day. It takes time. It’s like drifting out to sea without realizing how far from the shore we are. 

Guarding your eyes and setting boundaries

We are responsible for what we watch. It’s up to us to decide how to honor God best and glorify him with our eyes. Here are some suggestions to help you guard your eyes and set boundaries for yourself. 

  • Pray and ask God to help you guard your eyes. 
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show us where we sin in this area. 
  • Ask God to give us strength to avoid ungodly media. 
  • If you do sin, make sure you repent to God and ask him to forgive you. He promises to forgive us when we ask him. 
  • Take time to read God’s word daily. This helps you learn his ways and grow in your love for him
  • Ask for accountability from a mature Christian if this is an area of temptation for you. When you’re tempted, call this person and ask for prayer. 
  • Stop following people on TikTok or other social media sites that produce bad things or promote ungodly living. 
  • Memorize a few verses to recite when you need help and encouragement. 
  • Find ways to stay busy instead of watching TV or YouTube TV. 

Replace watching TV for time with God.

It might be a good idea to replace your TV watching with something else might be a good idea. It doesn’t mean you can never watch your favorite HGTV show, but maybe you watch 2 hours of television in the evening instead of 5 hours. Use the rest of the evening to catch up on your Bible reading, pray for your church’s missionaries, or do that Bible study you’ve talked about doing with a friend. You can also use the time for exercise or that hobby you’ve always wanted to learn. Other ways to use your time might include:

  • Call friends or family members
  • Write in your journal
  • Catch up on reading good books
  • Knit or crochet
  • Listen to a good podcast by a Christian teacher
  • Attend a yoga class, swim, or stretching class
  • Organize time out with youth in your church

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)

Pursuing Jesus and purity

As Christians, our goal is always to draw closer to Jesus. We grow closer to him through spending time with him. As we pursue Christ, it will have an amazing effect on how we live our lives and the choices we make. We begin to want to please God more than to please ourselves.

Growing closer to Jesus also affects how we spend our time, what we hear, and what we watch. We’ll want to live pure, Christ-honoring lives. The three areas to seek purity include our mind, affections, and body. 


Mental purity involves what we think about. Have you ever listened to a song and found yourself singing it two days later? That’s the power of our mind to latch onto things. As we mull over things in our minds, it affects our beliefs, choices, and actions. When we’re tempted with sinful thoughts, the Holy Spirit will convict us and bring to mind scriptures to help us fight the sinful temptations. 

Put to death therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  (Colossians 3:5 ESV)

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. (Philippians 3:5 ESV)


It’s easy to let our affections run away with us. We tend to fall in love with people, ideas, and things. As Christians, we must seek purity of our emotions by focusing on Jesus and what pleases him.  When we’re attracted to something emotionally, we must step back and ask ourselves if it will help us grow closer to God or farther away. 


What we do with our body matters to God. Scripture tells us our body is where the Holy Spirit lives (1 Corinthians 6:19), so what we do with our body is important. If we overeat or participate in sex before marriage or over-consume alcohol, our relationship with Jesus will be affected. We make these things more important than him. We may try to justify our sins.  Keeping our eyes on Jesus helps us make good choices with our bodies. 

Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. (1 Corinthians 6:12 Amplified Bible)

How to pursue Christ and maintain purity?

  • Be humble- See your need for Christ in every area of your life- mind, affections, and body.
  • Pray- Ask God to help you through his Holy Spirit to keep your focus on him first and foremost. 
  • Spend time reading scripture
  • Spend time with other believers, getting wisdom, and confessing your sins. 
  • When corrected, be willing to hear it and consider how to change it. 
  • When you sin, confess it to God. 


There are so many sights and sounds vying for our attention today. It’s important to remember that watching bad things affects us. It dulls our conscience towards God.  Whether we watch an ungodly YouTube video or an influencer on TikTok, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, seeking to honor and glorify him in everything we do. As we take time to read scripture, pray, and have fellowship with other Christians, it will help us change and pursue our relationship with Christ. His Holy Spirit will change our desires to live a God-glorifying life that pleases him.

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