Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise think on these things.”
God has gifted mankind the ability to think, dream and invent. These gifts from God are to be used to enhance the quality of life and to help others know the incredible love of God. The digital world has linked humanity together unlike anything in human civilization. For the first time since the tower of Babel the world can communicate personally with each other at anytime day or night. For the first time in world history a person with a cell phone or a computer, in the most remote part of the world, can hear the wonderful message of Jesus Christ. What an incredible tool for evangelism.
I regularly receive digital requests, emails, and text messages to pray for someone who is sick. Websites like Caring Bridge provide a forum to share information and receive messages during a critical health event. The digital world provides incredible opportunities for Education. Schools offer online classes. Research is at your fingertips with articles on most any subject imaginable. Gone are the days of pulling encyclopedias off the shelf or spending countless hours in the library to research a topic. It is now available via the digital world. Entertainment, music, videos, reading, games, storytelling, and sports are readily available online. You can sell your old stuff, buy someone else’s old stuff or you can buy new stuff and have it delivered to your front door. You can speak an address into your cell phone and receive turn-by-turn directions to most anywhere you want to drive. Social media provides the opportunity to connect with old friends and stay connected with family and make new friends.
Although it has much to offer, the digital world also has a dark side. Just a click away is a seething cesspool of a counter culture world. Everything from the occult to crime and violence and every evil that could be imagined lurks beneath the surface of the digital world. Dozens of new pornographic websites are launched every day, some 90% of them from California, creating an industry that collect revenues greater than the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball combined.
It is estimated that there are over 2,000 Internet gambling websites offering various wagering options, including sports betting, casino games, lotteries, and bingo. Con artists prey on anyone who seems a good target. Stalkers and pedophiles troll chat rooms and social media to find victims. The lure of the virtual world and virtual relationships has broken up thousands of marriages. The digital world has created a forum where most anyone can do or say most anything with almost complete anonymity. Postings, Bloggs, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media can have a dark side.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul does not say to think on the things that are tragic, scandalous, gruesome and despicable but to think on the things that are good, wholesome and lovely. It has been said about children, “sometimes children can be cruel.” Meaning a child has not matured to the place where they realize words and actions can be harmful to other people. Actually children aren’t cruel, they may not know better. Adults can be cruel. Adults who know their words and actions harm others do it anyway- that’s cruel. It happens more and more today through the digital world. For example a disgruntled employee can resort to cyber-bulling and paint their employer in a bad light. A divorced couple may use social media to harass and humiliate their former spouse. Bad reviews of restaurants and places of business can be detrimental to an individual’s way of life.
Whatever happened to the old saying, “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say it.”
Social media is not the problem, technology is not the problem, the problem is wickedness bound within the human heart. The heart is the well and the tongue is bucket and the bucket reaches down into the well to bring up the contents. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Consider the following passages of scripture:
Eph.4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Prov. 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
Prov. 20:19 “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.”
James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
Prov. 17:4 “An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.”
I Tim. 5:13 “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”
Titus 3:2 “speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
Christian living in a digital world is to use the incredible digital resources to share the gospel, to encourage one another and promote the love of Jesus Christ throughout the world. What kind of digital footprint are you leaving behind?