Love Story

by Bill Rudge

Karen and I watched the movie Love Story when it first came out in 1970. It is about a young couple who crossed social barriers, married, and ultimately faced her untimely death.

We loved the movie, supposedly one of the most romantic movies ever made. At the time, we were teenagers and had not yet given our lives to Jesus Christ.

On a date night 38 years later we decided to rent this movie thinking it had to be safe since it was made so long ago and we could not recall any questionable content. However, we quickly realized its message was diametrically opposed to what we now believe.

Karen went to bed about five minutes into it but I stayed up to watch excerpts to write this article and for another possible illustration for my upcoming book on overcoming sexual immorality.

A few examples follow:

• Jennifer (played by Ali MacGraw) and Oliver (played by Ryan O'Neal) engaged in premarital sex (implied but no nudity). Karen and I realize the adverse consequences of premarital sex and the blessings of sexual purity.

• Jennifer used God's name in vain frequently. Karen and I now praise His name.

• Jennifer was dying of cancer with no visible faith or mention of God. In contrast, Karen, who faced cancer, has hope through Jesus Christ and her whole life focuses on Him.

• Oliver was alienated, hostile, and defiant toward his father and had virtually no relationship with his mother. Karen and I have close relationships with our children and love being with them and our grandchildren who are intertwined in our lives and ministry.

As teens, we were unknowingly influenced by Love Story. It was not until 38 years later we realized the influence and impact this movie (and other movies) had on our beliefs and behavior during our teen years. The sad reality is that Love Story is mild by today's standards. The influence of today's movies on youth (and adults) is far greater than most people realize.

Be Discerning

Entertainment does more than simply entertain. It conveys ideas, values, philosophies, and lifestyles. That is why it is imperative you evaluate television, movies, music, the Internet, books, and magazines with a discerning mind and heart.

When you are exposed to something enticing and lustful, do not be like a sponge soaking it up and letting it enter your heart. Instead, be like a filter and evaluate everything you listen to, read, and watch.

Let what is not true and beneficial be like water rolling off the back of a duck. Say to yourself, "This message content or visual representation is not truth and reality. It is not what I want. I choose to honor You Lord."