One important aspect of being made in God’s image is that we are created for relationship rather than living in isolation. We’re made to function within community.
The Internet community is limiting in its role—it’s not the same as doing life together in daily interaction that requires godly compromise or provides accountability, or the give and take that is necessary in close quarters. But social sites provide an important community function similar to what the local coffee shop once did.
I recently encouraged a friend to sign up for a twitter account. Why, you ask? Why add one more piece of social media to my life that can clog my brain with more info than I can already handle?
Good question. It took me a good long while to finally plunge into the social media world. I resisted for these reasons:
- Time: Who has enough of it? You can’t manufacture more of it and I certainly don’t need another thing in my life that drains it! So why add something to my life that can become a major time-drainer?
- Soul Danger: There are several subtle dangers lurking behind the happy social media world. One of which is its addictive pull. It caters to the ugliest part of man’s nature: pride. The system is set up to fuel narcissism. It’s like the junior high popularity game on steroids.
“Experts” are now telling us that social media sites like facebook can be a source of unhappiness and jealousy, or lead to feelings of discontentment and inadequacy. I’ve not experienced that, but I felt like I needed to include their warnings on this post.
- Stumbling: In the multitude of words there is greater opportunity for sin (Prov. 10:19). There is a greater opportunity to intentionally or unintentionally harm someone by something I post online.
The Internet removes “face-to-face inhibitions” encouraging some users to post ugly comments they would never say but feel comfortable typing on screen. Pictures and information are passed through these sites that are nauseating and alarming. It’s pretty much like the onslaught of depravity that hits me in the face anytime I walk through our local mall.
So why would I encourage anyone to add one more thing to their lives that has potential dangers?
Because of community. Because of the gospel. And because of the glory of God.
I’ll explain what I mean by that in tomorrow’s post, as well as provide some practical tips for protection from the dangers I mentioned above. You also might want to check out a post I wrote on this topic back in 2011.
But before I weigh in on why I participate in the Internet community, I want to hear from you. Are you using social media? Why or why not?