IMG_7354What kind of movies do you like?  Do you like sweet romance movies like Letters to Juliet or the Notebook? Or do you prefer suspense or action movies like the Bourne trilogy, Iron Man or Taken? We watch a wide variety of movies in our house.  The sappy romance movies can make me cry, but the action movies make my heart race and my blood pressure rise. Have you ever wondered why?

In fifth grade, we had a female fire fighter, who I affectionately referred to as the fire lady, come to our class for several weeks to talk with us about fire safety.  At the end of her multi-week presentation, she showed us a movie about a house fire and we were supposed to pick up on the ways the family responded appropriately and the mistakes they made.  The daughter happened to be in her bed asleep when the fire broke out.  She made her way to her door and reached up as if she was about to open the door, but I stopped her. I screamed out loud, before my entire class.

“Stop! Don’t do it!”

The class roared with laughter and teased me for several days for getting so caught up in the movie.

Recently, I learned the reason for my response to the fire lady’s movie and the reason your heart rate goes up during action movies.  It’s because of mirror neurons.  We all have them.

Mirror neurons are,

a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action.”

This discovery makes me feel better about my fifth grade display of concern for the girl in the house fire.

Witnessing something can be as powerful as doing it ourselves.

This explains why pornography can be so addictive and why watching it or excessively violent movies or video games can lead to the desire to participate in activities that are harmful to yourself or others.

While scientist didn’t discover mirror neurons until the 1990s and I just learned about them recently, God has always known about them.  After all, He’s the one who wired us together, so He knows how our brain operates [Genesis 1:26, Psalm 139:13].

It is because of this knowledge He impresses upon us to be careful with our eyes. Matthew 29:27 says,

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

Now Jesus isn’t telling us to physically harm ourselves; rather to avoid being drawn into things visually that will separate us from the Lord and lead us to sin.

Job realized this power when he stated in Job 31:1,

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”

Be careful what you expose your eyes to, because seeing it impacts you very much like doing it.  It is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28,

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

And again, He warns us in Luke 11:34,

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.”

Guard your eyes.  Be careful with what you watch, because it will impact your heart and soul.  It will impact your relationship with the Lord, whether you know it or not.