GIGO in a media-saturated culture

movie watchingI despise trite, corny little sayings meant to teach us about life.  Especially when they are true.  That’s just annoying.  When I was very young in the faith one of those corny little sayings floating around was, “Garbage in, garbage out.”  It was meant to teach the young in faith to guard our hearts and eyes, lest we take in something that was unhealthy for our spiritual wellbeing.  It was used to keep us from reading the wrong books, listening to “secular” music or going to R-rated movies.  Years later I discovered that it was a computer programming phrase, often represented by the acronym, GIGO.

In computer lingo, GIGO means that faulty or corrupt data inputted into the system will yield bad results, or output.  Now, I am not a legalist, a biblicist or a prude.  However, as corny, simplistic and trite as it is, there is something to GIGO I must admit is true – especially in this day when we have more media stimuli available to us than ever before.

Proverbs 4:23-27, teaches us what guarding our hearts and GIGO are all about:

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

There is enough in those few short verses to meditate on for a couple of weeks.  Trite or not, I see the GIGO principle in the first two lines: watch what flows into your heart, for it will impact all that flows out of it.

One of my hobbies is watching movies.  Therefore, one of my challenges in guarding my own heart is in taking care what kind of movies and visuals I put before my eyes.  Again, I’m not a prude, but I have come to depend on one website as one of the most helpful in guarding my heart when it comes to movies: IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database).  It comes as an app for your phone or tablet, too.  Go to the site, search for any movie or television show, scroll down to “Parents Guide” and click on “View content advisory.”  That will take you to a page that ranks the film’s contents under five categories: “Sex and Nudity,” “Violence and Gore,” “Profanity,” “Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking,” and “Frightening/Tense Scenes,” ranking each of them from 1 to 10.  I have personally “guarded my own heart,” by avoiding many films that needed avoiding, just by looking at this site.  I have also neglected to use this site on a few occasions and truly regretted it later.

Is GIGO true in  your life?  Or do you find it too simplistic?  In what ways do you guard your heart?

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