Michael Boling – Avoiding Sound-bite Theology and Bible Study

quotescover-JPG-69

There is a recurring theme I notice when engaging in conversations with people on social media. This theme presents itself when a passage of Scripture is being discussed, more often than not, a verse or set of verses that is typically well known. Perhaps the issue resides in our familiarity with such passages. Have we read them so many times that our minds tend to gloss over the details and the underlying message being presented, let alone any connections to other similar passages with related themes found elsewhere in Scripture?

I often wonder if this is a result of our sound-bite approach to approaching God’s Word. We tend to think of passages of Scripture in short tweet like concepts, hoping to some degree to have a clever quip to provide someone on social media to win an argument or to demonstrate that we can pull a verse (or at least a portion of one often out of context) from the back of our minds to demonstrate our knowledge of Scripture.

The question we must ask ourselves is this a demonstration of a real commitment to studying the Bible? Are sound-bites the answer or is spending time digging deep into the pages of Scripture, analyzing the details while paying attention to how those details form the mosaic of the larger presentation what God expects from us? I submit it is the latter and here is why I make such a suggestion.

Recently I have been spending a great deal of time digging into the first four chapters of Genesis. Now these are chapters most believers would readily admit they are quite familiar with, especially since most valiantly begin their pursuit of reading through the Bible in a year with these chapters. Most have likely lost count of the number of times they have read the creation story, the account of the fall, or the murder of Abel at the hands of his brother Cain. These events (i.e. creation, fall, etc.) are familiar to us and we can recite from memory the “big ideas” if you will regarding what those events are all about. However, there are a plethora of important details that are often overlooked and questions that often go unasked and unanswered again likely due to our familiarity with these chapters. Questions such as “Why was Eve not surprised when a “Serpent” engaged her in conversation?” or “Why was it important that Adam and Eve saw they were naked and made fig leaf garments to cover themselves?” or “If God said when they ate of the fruit they would die, why did Adam and Eve not immediately die?”. These are just a few questions I have been asking of late and exploring. I will readily admit the study of these questions has resulted in some informative and important connections being made to key issues that flow throughout Scripture.

If taking the time to ask some simple yet probing questions about the text in the first four chapters of Genesis can lead to such depth in Bible study, just imagine what taking the time to engage the rest of Scripture on that level will lead you. Such an approach of course requires far more than sound-bite theology and Bible study, It requires time, patience, the honesty to rethink at times our positions, and a desire to follow the trail of truth wherever the Holy Spirit takes us through the course of our studies.

Here is an example of how this might work. The topic of the New Covenant often comes up in the course of discussion on many Facebook forums I belong to. The statement many make is that Old Covenant being labeled as old necessarily implies this Old Covenant has zero value or relevance for the New Testament believer. A response I typically provide to such a statement involves a series of probing questions designed to focus the conversation on investigation of the text or texts in question. I often ask “What is new about this covenant?”, “Who does Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 10 state this new covenant is made with and why is that important?”, “Where is this new covenant being written and by whom”?, and “What are the terms of this covenant and why is it significant to understand it in terms of a marriage covenant?”. Given these questions interact with key statements in Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Hebrews 10:15-16, the purpose of asking these questions is rooted in focusing the discussion back on the text instead of what we often think the text is saying.

After these questions are addressed and some discussion takes place, the next step in the process is to start looking at what key words such as “new” and “covenant” mean. All this requires is taking a look at a quality Bible dictionary or perhaps an online tool such as www.blueletterbible.org where words meanings and other instances where that same word has been used elsewhere in Scripture can be analyzed. This also provides the opportunity for patterns and principles to be recognized and for the overall flow of thought in Scripture to impact our understanding. This may also require reanalyzing the answers to the questions that were initially asked. Do our answers still remain valid based on the further study of the passage in question and related passages.

This necessarily leads to a focus on application. Once again using the new covenant concept as an example, how does the understanding that has been gained impact how I love God and others? If this covenant is a marriage covenant, how am I being faithful to the terms of that covenant or am I? If the answer is I am not being faithful, what changes need to be made and what does Scripture have to say about that? What is the foundation upon which this marriage covenant is established and why is that important? This of course may certainly lead to another set of passages, another series of probing questions, another analysis of word meanings, and another set of questions regarding application.

This is the nonstop flow of what it means to study, understand, and apply the truth of Scripture to our lives. Does this take time and effort? Absolutely but this is after all what God commands of His people and if we truly love God, spending time in His Word should be a joy and not viewed as a chore. Digging into Scripture versus sound-bite/one-liner Twitter type study should be a no brainer. Spend time in God’s Word. There is a lifetime of treasures to be discovered. Sound-bite theology more often than not leads to half-truths and confused theology. It must be avoided.

Please follow and like us:
0

Kristen Hatton – Social Media Isn’t Your Teens’ Biggest Problem

The fear in the room was palpable. I’d just spoken to a packed room of mothers and daughters on the topic of social media. Many of the girls present were on the cusp of their teen years, and the majority of mothers were just beginning their foray into parenting teens.

After the girls went to a separate room for a follow-up discussion with youth leaders, moms’ hands darted up in the air. The urgency in each mother’s question expressed her anxiety over social media and other teen challenges. It was encouraging to see so many moms who wanted to be better equipped to navigate the teen years. Too often I see the opposite—parents resigned to the false “teens will be teens” notion that they give up trying.

But I’m not sure these moms were anxious for the right reasons.

Trusting in Rules

The moms who were so desperate to control and protect their children wanted me to give them a script to follow, a list of social media and phone do’s and don’ts with a guarantee that all would go well if they just follow the rules. I understand the desire for a script with a guarantee; every parent wants her teen to be safe, happy, and far from the path of destruction. But if we focus primarily on external solutions for raising our teens, we set our hope on something that can’t deliver.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Brandon Smith – I Took a Week Off from Social Media (and Survived)

I joined Facebook in 2005, Twitter in 2009, and Instagram in 2013. I enjoy each of these social media platforms for different reasons, but one theme has stuck out to me recently: I’m least like Christ when I’m on social media. I’m more selfish, defensive, narcissistic, and proud when I’m reading or interacting with others online. Social media doesn’t make me sin in those ways, but it does provide plenty of provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14).

At the turn of the year, I made a promise to myself—I would spend less time on social media, and I would stop engaging in or starting long debates. I wrote about it first in September last year, and then tweeted a thread about it again in January of this year. Here’s the third installment, I suppose.

Ever see those 20-tweet back-and-forths or the 80-comment Facebook posts? Yeah, that was me. I’ve kept the above promises to myself by-and-large this year, but I’ve still struggled to find the balance of using social media sparingly and most importantly, wisely.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Derek Rishmawy – Tweeting Yourself Into An Identity

I was struck by an unoriginal thought about Twitter today. It holds for most other forms of social media as well, I suppose. It’s simply this: Twitter is not simply a medium for the self-expression of our given or chosen identity, but for the formative construction of our identity. And not always in a conscious way.

Some of us consciously go onto social media looking to project a particular version of ourselves which is more idealized than real. But Twitter easily turns into this subconscious feedback loop.

First you start tweeting things. Various things. Links, thoughts, jokes, aphorisms, political opinions, insults, or whatever occurs to you. But then, some of those get more responses than others. They get the most favorites or retweets.

Most of us like getting favorites or retweets. So we notice what type of content gets that. Is it the funny jokes? The angry political thoughts? The prophetic word about the Church? The earnest Jesus-aphorisms? The encouraging nuggets of wisdom?

Whatever it is, you begin to think more and more along that groove, posting more in that vein, and getting more positive feedback. So you start adopting that role more and more: inane humorist, earnest preacher-man, prophet, purveyor of wisdom, screen-shot guy, emotive relater, political pundit.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Michael Boling – Is It Time for a Social Media Sabbatical?

There is an important issue I have been contemplating extensively as of late. No it is not related to some deep theological subject although it is theological in nature. No it is not related to any major current event, governmental or cultural, although it does engage both those issues. No it is not some dark sin in my life although it could lead to that if left unchecked.

The issue I have been contemplating is social media and my involvement in it, specifically the amount of time and effort I devote to anything remotely related to its pursuits. Perhaps this issue coming to the forefront of my mind is the result of reading Tony Reinke’s excellent book titled 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. I was very much challenged by what Reinke had to share, most notably as it relates to time management, the allure of immediate approval, and the fear of missing out.

Social media is inherently neither good nor evil. If used incorrectly, it is a gateway to all manner of vices. If used correctly, it is a helpful tool. The trick is understanding the proper balance and avoiding the rabbit holes of social media that lead to the aforementioned vices.

I wish there was a way to count how many times per day I use social media. Maybe I don’t want to know. Regardless, I am realizing I spend far too much time checking Facebook and Pinterest (my two main social media vices) and thinking about what I have volunteered to write on or making sure I am keeping up with my own blog, etc., etc., etc.

What all this constant stream of social media thought has impacted is quality time with my wife and daughter. It seems it is very easy to get sucked into the social media spin cycle of building viewership, likes, followers, you name it, but at what cost? For me, the cost of late has been ignoring far too much my god given duty as husband and father.

This is a rough thing to admit. After all, how can writing posts on matters of biblical truth be bad? Aren’t we supposed to share the good news of biblical truth with the world? Isn’t social media an excellent means by which to do so? The answer is yes to both questions with a giant and necessary “but”. Going into all the world to proclaim truth and for that matter, showing ourselves approved to rightly handle that truth is a requirement for all believers. With that said, it cannot be at the expense of equally important commands throughout Scripture. I cannot rightly say I am proclaiming truth while I am at the same time doing so while ignoring time that should be spent training up my daughter in the way she should go, or at the expense of being a godly husband. This isn’t an either/or proposition. It is an all or nothing proposition. One truth cannot be proclaimed at the expense of another.

I will admit this is a difficult balance, especially for those who have been provided the opportunity and platform to do this thing called social media. I love to write. I love to read. I love to get involved in theological discussions. I am confident those pursuits in and of themselves are godly and make an important impact. However, and here again is that big necessary “but”, it has been at the expense of time spent with my wife, daughter, and who knows how many other important parts of life.

My daughter is in the formative years of her life. Decisions and habits she makes now will have a massive impact on her future. Spending time on social media or doing things related to social media rather than spending time, and I mean quality time with her is quite frankly ungodly. Even blogging about an issue we are facing is ungodly if it is taking time away from close, personal, important time rearing my child. Parenting is after all one of those all or nothing propositions.

There is a proper balance that can be struck for sure, but until that balance can be had in my own life, I have engaged in this needed assessment of all things social media. In the end, the way forward may involve some massive changes in what I do. Some pursuits may come to a temporary halt to resume at a later time. Other pursuits may cease for a longer period of time. Still others may never resume. At this point I am not sure what will transpire. Whatever decision arises will be the result of much prayer and much family conversation.

Why am I sharing all this? The biggest reason is I am betting many of you are in the same boat. I say this based on my observations of social media activity as a whole. After all, how many times have you been at a restaurant and noticed an entire family hunched over at the table focused on their smartphone instead of having a conversation? Probably quite a bit.

Again, this is not a diatribe against social media. It definitely has an important function. For myself and as it relates to my family, it is looking like it will be time for a defined sabbatical. We shall see where the Father leads. At this point, I feel it is a 99% reality a sabbatical will soon be in order.

Please follow and like us:
0

Nathan Bingham – Pixels Are People

Five years ago, our lives radically changed. My wife and I, with our three children, moved from Australia to the United States. This decision to relocate and serve at Ligonier Ministries was significant. Our children were all under five years of age. We said goodbye to our family and friends and sold almost everything we owned. This was “starting over.” But more significant was that we had never been to the United States and had never met anyone from Ligonier in person.

We arrived late one February evening in 2012. The next day, we shared a meal with some of Ligonier’s leadership team. I was suffering from severe jet lag, but I didn’t miss an important lesson: pixels are people. Our previous online interactions had not been between mere pixels on a screen; they were between people. They remembered things I had said (typed) as if I had said them face-to-face. It was also clear that this wasn’t the beginning of our friendship. It was the continuation of a preexisting relationship. They knew me. I knew them. Pixels are people.

The Internet has changed the way we communicate. The ability of an individual to share a message has never been as easy or as far reaching. In March 2015, the world began watching NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spend a year aboard the International Space Station. He documented his experience through images he posted on Instagram. And last night, my parents blew kisses and said goodnight to their grandchildren. They live almost ten thousand miles away in Australia. Thank you, FaceTime.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Michael Boling – Logging Off is Hard to Do: The Proper Balance of Social Media and Godly Parenting

I readily admit that I fully enjoy engaging fellow believers on social media, in particular in various forums and discussion groups on Facebook. The back and forth discussion is often riveting, challenging, informative, and when done responsibly, a great tool for personal spiritual growth and the growth of others. What believer would not desire to share the truth of God’s Word or to dig deeper into the things of God, especially “nerdy” theological loving types such as myself. Of course that little aspect of responsibility is the issue and what things are being neglected, issues that quite often are far more important than winning a debate or sharing that one final brilliant theological discovery. Let me share with you some points of concern I have realized in my own life concerning this issue that were brought to my attention by my rather perceptive daughter as well as some recommendations for properly balancing time spent on social media or theological discussion.

In an age where access to social media is everywhere, be it smart phones, laptops, Kindles, Nooks, or iPads, it is easy to get drawn into the online environment. Long gone are the days when your connected your computer to the dial up modem, went out for dinner and then came back home to finally log on to the internet. Today we have instantaneous access to all manner of technological wonders. Who knew 10 years ago we could access the internet or watch television, movies, or listen to music on a thing called a smart phone? Honestly, there is nothing inherently wrong with technology. A smart phone or other technological device in and of itself is nothing more than a device. Without turning that device on, nothing will happen. Without engaging that device, nothing will happen. This means that a decision must be made on the part of the individual as to the good or bad that will come from utilizing that piece of technology. It also means blaming the availability of technology is a rather poor excuse, given you have to actually turn on the device to use it capabilities.

Now as someone who is an advocate of using technology to spread the good news of the gospel, having conversations with fellow believers across the globe, reading godly books and reviewing them, as well as writing blog posts and sharing the helpful writings of fellow bloggers or theological works past or present, I humbly admit that from time to time I get sucked into the world of technology. Again, there is nothing wrong with technology, studying God’s Word, or sharing the gospel. The issue is ensuring one’s engagement in those aforementioned activities is not done at the expense of other things also commanded by God as having a great deal of importance.

This leads me to what my daughter brought to my attention and that is “You are always talking about God on Facebook or reading about God and when I want to go to the pool or do things, you do not seem to be interested.” Wow! That was a shot right to the mid-section and rightfully so. Admittedly, I was defensive right off the bat in my response which went something along the lines of “Well you just want to go swimming at the wrong time.” Bad form Mike….bad form. After thinking about the wisdom my child shared in her complaint, it hit me that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Let me explain what I mean by that statement.

Sharing the gospel is most definitely something that should be the focus of every believer. As we have discussed thus far, technology has afforded us the opportunity to share that message through social media. The unfortunate side effect of social media is it becomes very easy to justify to ourselves typing that one last response on Facebook, reading just one more chapter, writing one more paragraph for that blog post we just have to get out for dissemination today, or sharing with our family the specifics of that ridiculous individual on that forum who just can’t get it right on a particular issue of theological importance. The reasons are many as to why we justify those actions to ourselves including the fear that if we do not post something in response to Rachel Held Evans’ latest tirade or if we do not confront a particular wrong point of doctrine at that specific moment in time that suddenly the very fiber of the universe will unravel. In my case, the desire to take that route has led to the neglect of something just as precious and that is time sharing the gospel in my own family by my own actions or in this case the lack thereof of setting a godly example of what proper balance looks like.

As parents and especially for those fathers out there, we are absolutely commanded by God to “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Deut. 11:19)”, an imperative that speaks of declaring the things of God to your children all day and every day. What does that look like on a daily basis and how do talk about these things day in and day out with our children and in our families? What connection does that have to social media? All valid questions and let’s examine each one individually.

There are a number of ways in which parents can share the truth of Scripture with their children on a daily basis. Some involve the actual sitting down in a family or one on one setting to include the opening the Word of God and prayer. Such an approach is often called “family worship” and there are a number of great books available (see below) that outline some suggestions for doing quality, purposeful, and consistent family worship. In fact, I highly recommend family worship be instituted on a consistent basis. In the words of Dr. Joel Beeke:

Heads of households, we must implement family worship in the home. God requires that we worship Him not only privately as individuals, but publicly as members of the covenant body and community, and socially, as families. The Lord Jesus is worthy of it, God’s Word commands it, and conscience affirms it as our duty.”[1]

While family worship is a must, there is also the equally important aspect of sharing the truth of Scripture by demonstrating godly living as parents through our own actions. This piece is truly where the rubber meets the road for most of us. In our minute by minute actions, are we reflecting what righteous behavior looks like to our children? Are we demonstrating by our own actions how to love God and love others? That is after all the essence of what all of the commands in Scripture are rooted is it not? I will let that sink in for a second. Okay…time’s up!

If we were honest, I would submit most would admit a large failure in that area of our lives as leaders of our families. With that said, admitting failure in this regard is a good thing because it demonstrates the realization of our neglect. The next stage is the need for repentance followed immediately by a paradigm shift in our approach to life. Children are sponges and as parents, they look to us for guidance not to mention the fact they will more often than not mimic our behavior. Watch the following music video as an example of how that works:

See how that works? The bad part of the video was the little boy repeating the curse word he had watched his father use. A better part was the little boy mimicking his father praying. The best part of the video was the realization by the father that he is setting an example for his son to follow, a realization resulting in a change of behavior. That is the place we must all get to as parents, namely what will likely be a drastic adjustment in how we live our lives.

For those parents who find themselves overly drawn to social media under the guise of sharing the gospel, or individuals such as myself who spend likely far too much time involved in reading and reviewing books, writing blog posts, or developing our personal or ministry related blogs, the allure of social media can impact our ability to share the gospel in our own homes. I know this is a reality because of the complaint shared by my daughter to me about my own misplaced priorities. I would submit many others are either in the same camp or are running the risk of placing a higher priority on outward ministry to others over and above ministering as a parent or spouse to their wife and children.

We cannot neglect our families for the cause of Christ. Such an approach is antithetical to Scripture. There is a thing called the off switch on every technological device. You can log out of Facebook. That last comment can wait. That blog post can wait another day. That book you are reading can be put back on the shelf for a few more minutes. That meeting can be rescheduled. What is more important than to “Train up a child in the way he should go so that when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

The Puritan J. W. Alexander once noted:

The father of a family is under a wholesome influence, when he is brought every day to take a post of observation, and say to his own heart, “By this single means, in addition to all others, I am exerting some definite influence, good or bad, upon all who surround me. I cannot omit this service needlessly; perhaps I cannot omit it at all without detriment to my house. I cannot read the Word, I cannot sing, I cannot pray, without leaving some trace on the tender mind. How solemnly, how affectionately, how believingly, should I then approach this ordinance! With how much godly fear and preparation! My conduct in this worship may save or may kill. Here is my great channel for reaching the case of those who are submitted to my charge.”[2]

As I think back to the words of my own daughter to me concerning my over emphasis recently on matters relating to social media, I am struck by those words from J. W. Alexander, specifically “I am exerting some definite influence, good or bad, upon all who surround me. I cannot omit this service needlessly; perhaps I cannot omit it at all without detriment to my house.” That means that everything I do and say is being picked up on by those in my household, in particular by my daughter. She is watching every move I make and everything I say. This means the example I am setting is forming her perspective on parenting, life in general, and what a relationship with God and others looks like in practice. Uh-oh and God help me all wrapped up into one!

Now keep in mind changing our habits takes time and effort but by all means take the time and the effort to make the needed changes. This is serious business. Repent of misplaced priorities and cry out to God for help in leading your family in the manner in which Scripture commands. Take the time to institute things such as family worship which can be as simple as reading a Bible verse, talking about what God is saying in that verse, singing a song, and praying. This is not about having a 90 minute church service at home each night. It is about consistent time as a family, time spent in communion together and with God. Also recognize that social media can wait more often than not. Do not be so consumed with matters of ministry or the desire to fire away that post or Tweet that you neglect the raising of your children or get into a situation where you are not reflecting a godly example as a parent.

I leave you with the sound words of J. C. Ryle:

Fathers and mothers, I charge you solemnly before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, take every pains to train your children in the way they should go. I charge you not merely for the sake of your children’s souls; I charge you for the sake of your own future comfort and peace. Truly it is your interest so to do. Truly your own happiness in great measure depends on it. Children have ever been the bow from which the sharpest arrows have pierced man’s heart. Children have mixed the bitterest cups that man has ever had to drink. Children have caused the saddest tears that man has ever had to shed. Adam could tell you so; Jacob could tell you so; David could tell you so. There are no sorrows on earth like those which children have brought upon their parents. Oh! take heed, lest your own neglect should lay up misery for you in your old age. Take heed, lest you weep under the ill-treatment of a thankless child, in the days when your eye is dim, and your natural force abated.”[3]

References:

[1] Dr. Joel Beeke, Family Worship (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2002), 11.
[2] http://www.apuritansmind.com/the-christian-walk/the-christian-family/the-father-and-family-worship-by-rev-j-w-alexander/
[3] J. C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents (Choteau: Old Paths Gospel Press, 1888), 36-37.

Please follow and like us:
0

Randy Alcorn – Parents: It’s Time to Wake Up About Pornography, Sexting, and Your Children

texting

While speaking about sexual purity at my church several years ago, I told parents that if they’re going to let their children have unrestricted Internet access in the privacy of their own rooms, through computers, tablets, phones, or any other device they might as well buy thousands of pornographic magazines and stack them in their children’s closets and say, “Don’t ever look at those.” It amounts to the same thing.

After my message, a sincere Christian mother came up to me. She was offended by my warning to parents not to allow their children to have unmonitored Internet access.

“I can’t believe you said that,” she began. “My son has Internet access in his room, and I trust him! He’s a good boy.”

I told her, “I was once a seventh grade boy. I’ll tell you right now, you think you’re honoring your son by trusting him, but you are setting him up for a fall. You could hand him a gun, and his life might turn out better than if you just hand him over to the Internet.”

If this strikes you as an overstatement, you simply do not understand the devastating effects of pornography. The great majority of children, especially boys but also girls, who are allowed access to pornography will view it, either inadvertently or purposefully, and many of those will become addicted to it, ruining their lives and in many cases ruining their future marriages.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Nathan Busenitz – The Blog in Our Eyes

eye-chart

At times, the blogosphere can be notoriously nasty — a breeding ground for slander, gossip, misinformation, bickering, name-calling, arrogance, and quick-temperedness. Even Christian blogs can sometimes deteriorate into something between a tabloid and a talk show, built on a few provocative tidbits of juicy news and the massing of ignorance in response. Armed with anonymity and eager for an audience, bloggers (meaning both those who post and those who comment) often shoot first and ask questions only after they’ve trashed other people and embarrassed themselves.

So how can we, as believers, stem the tide and honor the Lord in the way we interact online? In answer to that question, here are ten practical principles derived from God’s Word.

Let’s start with the most foundational…

1. Have Your Quiet Time First

As believers, we are to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), being controlled and characterized by Him as we walk in His power (Gal. 5:16), 22–23). This begins with “letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16), daily renewing our minds with the truth (cf. Eph. 4:23), taking up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17), and recognizing that it is through “the pure milk of the Word” that we “grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). If we are to be Spirit-filled as we engage others in online dialogue, discussion, and debate — we need to first immerse ourselves in prayer and in the Word (cf. Pss. 1:2–3; 5:3; 19:7–14; 119:9–11).

This principle applies to blogs in at least two ways. First, we need to remember that blogs, as helpful as they are, should never be a substitute for one’s personal time of private devotion, Scripture reading, and prayer. If we are to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led every day, we need to daily go to the book that the Spirit inspired (2 Pet. 1:20–21) and empowers (cf. Is. 55:11; Heb. 4:12). Even the best of Christian blogs (or books for that matter) can never compare with the very words of God.

Continue Reading

Please follow and like us:
0

Michael Boling – Social Media Addiction

quotescover-JPG-98

If the word addiction comes into a conversation or to our minds, we typically think of alcoholism, drugs, or pornography. These seem to be the “Big 3” if you will of addictions and arguably there is nothing wrong with that perspective. These particular vices certainly do have the highest profile in society and are most often the focus of rehab clinics, books, and counseling efforts.

What I have come to realize in my own life and home is there is another sinister addictive behavior that largely goes unnoticed. That addiction is namely how so many are chained to social media. What concerns me most and again I am speaking from recent experiences in my own home of late is how social media addiction turns us into loners, people who remove themselves from meaningful personal interaction in favor of Pokemon Go, Facebook Twitter, or the latest app craze.

Why is this such a big deal? Am I against technology? Is this going to be a rant against the evils of Facebook and related social media? Absolutely not. I firmly believe such technologies should and can be leveraged for not just sharing the truth of Scripture, but also for much needed relaxation and down time. Want to play an app? Go for it! Want to decompress and have a Netflix binge? Go for it.

Here in lies the problem and this is an issue with most anything in life. Humanity has a tendency to have no clue when to stop something. We are an addictive people. While most of us are not addicted to alcohol or drugs, most if not all of us, have areas in our lives that we have allowed to take control in a negative way.

Let me provide a little assistance in determining if you have fallen prey to social media addiction:

– When you go out to dinner with your family, do you spend more time checking the sports app, refreshing Facebook, or firing off a Tweet than having a conversation with your spouse and/or children about their life?

– When you come home from work, do you sit down on the couch to check Facebook before saying hello to your spouse and children and/or giving them a hug and kiss?

– When you go to bed, do you pull out your Kindle or iPad to watch several Netflix shows instead of having a talk with your spouse?

– Do you neglect interaction with your spouse and/or children in favor of responding to that Facebook forum post in order to correct someone’s clearly errant theology?

Okay…I admit it. I am guilty of all of those situations far more than I would like to admit. I am guilty of all four on a daily basis. Quite honestly, social media addiction is allowing this helpful tool to lord itself over my life. Moreover, this addiction as with any addiction causes relationship chaos. As I noted earlier, social media addiction is a bit more sinister in that it is not as evident all of the time as say an addiction to drugs. However, it is a deleterious addiction nonetheless that can cause serious damage over time or even immediately if left unchecked.

What is more important, making a Facebook or Twitter post or listening to your spouse and children? What is more lasting in life, the latest app craze that is here today and gone tomorrow or investing time and energy in loving God and others by being a godly spouse and parent? Can that post wait or does it even need to be made at all? Isn’t time and I mean quality time with your family the biblically commanded focus that far supersedes social media?

This addiction is hard to break. In our family, we have come to the realization we all have fallen prey this pernicious issue. As a family, we have made a resolution to wean ourselves off a focus on social media and the devices that provide such content. As a replacement, we have committed ourselves to family activities, things as simply as taking a walk together, going roller skating, finding ways to get involved in our community. You know….things we as a society used to do on a regular basis.

If you find yourself suffering from social media addiction, the time for rehab and recovery is now. In my home, we have turned off the devices and are spending time actually communicating and interacting with one another on a meaningful, personal basis. It is what God demands, it is absolutely necessary, and in the end, when we are obedient to what God desires, good things will result.

Will you join me in assessing your addiction to social media and make the necessary changes in your life?

Please follow and like us:
0