IT’S A VERY, VERY SIMPLE QUESTION.
It’s a question that we should always ask ourselves throughout our career. And I guarantee you that many actors today that openly claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior—simply do not ask it. Maybe some actors don’t know that they should ask this question. There’s grace for that. Maybe they do know, and just don’t want to. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that this question is definitely not being asked regularly by Christian actors, artists, and entertainers. But I think I know why. In fact, I’m sure I do. It’s because this one question—when asked directly of a Christian—is extremely penetrating, convicting, unmistakably personal, spiritually direct, and impossible to dodge. Any actor claiming Jesus as Lord cannot run from this inquiry. The funny thing is—we shouldn’t want to. This underutilized question should actually be regarded as an essential, sure-fire way to avoid making the wrong industry decisions. When we ask ourselves this one question, we can count on an instantaneous spiritual response, that is, if we really want to hear the truth.
So, what is this all-important question? It’s simple. When it comes to the projects you are considering taking as an actor, you have to ask yourself:
“If JESUS was watching, WOULD I STILL DO IT?”
MY GOODNESS. Think about that? Can you truly believe you would—while “acting”—boldly say “F” this, and “Mother-F” that, and “son-of-a-B” this, and “GD” that… and “I don’t give a S” this, and “kiss my A” that—in your performance—ALL IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS?
Sometimes negativity is necessary to help tell a story. But actors can do so without dishonoring God or compromising their faith. I was challenged to do so in the film “Courageous” while portraying the role of the lead gang member, “TJ”.
No. You can’t possibly believe that. You are one bold person if you say that you could perform the above in front of a Holy God who commanded in scripture that we refrain from this. Surely you are not crazy enough to say that God would stand by you and support you while you talk this way. You know better. And do not try and make the argument of “well selling drugs is bad, and so is murder, and so is stealing, and Christians do that in films too”. No. Those things are truly acting. Because if they were not, then all who did those things would be in prison. But profanity in and of itself is NOT acting—only the intent is. You don’t really hate the person that you are dropping the F-bomb on—it’s just part of the script—but the F-bomb is REAL. Many things fall into this category. Nudity is NOT acting. If I take off my clothes for a film, the scenario may be fictitious, but my nakedness is REAL. I have much more to say on the topic of content, and I will down the road. But for the sake of this post, in response to the question asked above, I wanted to briefly list some of the conscious choices we make while claiming Christ as our Lord. LORD means LEADER. Christian means CHRIST FOLLOWER. And to say that Jesus is totally in support and cheering us on when we do the above, is just not biblical. It’s simply not true. Now I have learned not to say what God will and will not do in the lives of other people, but I have also learned that He is not a liar. And if anyone is to have me believe that Jesus Christ would be in full support—and regularly OPEN DOORS for us—to be explicitly profane, sexually immoral, and insensitive to things that could cause others to stumble…then I am willing to say that person is 100% wrong. Jesus is not supporting success caused by sin. He doesn’t need sin to make us successful. If your project has to be censored, bleeped, slapped with a “Warning, Explicit Content” label, and the like—I’m telling you out of love—Jesus isn’t happy with you there. God is NOT pleased with you there, but Satan is extremely happy to let you give God all the credit for these choices. It only makes it that much easier for him to capitalize on all those that are being made to stumble because of them. But if we really would just ask ourselves, truthfully, “would I change anything if Jesus showed up?” If the answer is yes, then you’d better change it NOW. And not because He might actually show up, because spiritually—if you have truly accepted Him into your heart—He is ALREADY there!
Actors, make sure you ask this question. If you haven’t been, start now. By getting into the habit of regularly asking yourself this question— and properly responding to the answer— you won’t dishonor God with your work. That’s the goal! And speaking of goals—mine was not to make anyone feel bad or ashamed. If you have taken dishonoring roles in the past, present, or planning to in the future, don’t take this as a “calling you out”. Take it as a blessing, as love from a brother who cares. Now you can ask yourself the question from here on out. And no matter what anyone else says or does, YOU can know that YOU are right with God because you did what many are not willing to do—TRULY put Him first.
My message may not be popular, but you can count on it being true. May it reach its intended heart.
T.C. Stallings is the CEO of Team TC Productions. He is an actor, author, speaker, and former professional athlete. His latest books “The Pursuit” and “Playing On God’s Team” reinforce the messages in all of his blogs.