Michelle Dowell, Co-Contributor
I've written about how it's important to think and talk about good things as the Bible tells us--and so it should be with TV and reading. Possibly the reason we are so ready to share sad stories for no other reason than it's a sad story is possibly that we just do that for entertainment--so why not in our thoughts and conversations, too.
Some people might think that by watching sad stories they're learning how to help or relate to people in that type of situation. However, I'm not sure that's really the result. A person who is going through a tough time doesn't need to hear "I know what you're going through, I read or watched a story where the main character went through this!" What that person needs is a friend who is simply loving them--being there to listen and sometimes to talk, and really getting to know them.
The reason and solution for things is often more simple than we'd like to think. The reason that sad things happen is we are a part of a fallen world. The way to help as much as we can is to follow God's direction for our lives, which includes loving everyone and making wise choices.
That doesn't mean that we only can watch or read stories where nothing bad happens. Often stories are ones where something bad happens and then a hero helps things be better. It's fighting some evil and feeling hope.
Stories also help us understand our culture more and/or laugh. This is good too if done appropriately.
TV in itself isn't bad. We need to use discernment and be selective, of course, just like with books that we read. When we were children we may have been read stories at night. TV is often stories that are told to us little by little--the same type of thing in some sense. The content might be somewhat different. But people love to hear stories of people who have hope and create some change in difficult situations. Or stories that make us laugh and understand things more.