As a school principal and assitant pastor, I have had a hard time swallowing social networking. I often see the harm it does rather than the help it contributes. Many young people (and adults alike) have allowed Satan to use this tool to drive a wedge in their lives between them and those they love. Precious memories with God and the family have been robbed because of the enormous amount of time spent on these sites. I have known people to be extremely obsessed! Yes, I’m going to say it, they’re addicted to their facebooks and myspaces!
As an educator, I have also seen the “dumbing down” of our society through these sites. People no longer know how to properly communicate. They would rather text or email than speak to someone face to face. I know that we are, as a society, so spread out and this technology has helped “shrink” our world. Amy and I agree that it has been a great blessing to connect with our family and friends through the fabulous invention of Al Gore- the internet! But let’s not be too quick to praise the technology and too slow to notice where the potential danger lies.
About a week ago, someone asked me about “twitter.” Twitter is a microblog/social networking site that simply asks the question, “What are you doing?” Your answer can only be 140 characters or less. As you can tell, I have a hard time with being wordy. The reason this was brought to my attention was because of our impending blessing- Anabelle Grace.
One of the drawbacks of adopting in Arkansas is that many of our church family and friends cannot be with us. They cannot come to the hospital (well, they can but it would be expensive) and hold Anabelle on the day of her birth. This saddens me to a degree because there are many around this world that have prayed for the people and the process involved and to be able to allow them to see (or hear) Anabelle’s birth is an answer to their prayer.
One of my good friends has done much of the research for me. He and I are both passionate about technology and using it for God’s glory as well as protecting the church from the evil uses of this technology. Upon receiving information and praying about this, I decided to give it a try but with these principles in mind. Principles I want to share with you to keep me accountable and, if God wills, to help us make better use of our time online.
The first principle is attitude. Since I started blogging three years ago, I have strived to keep the content of this site clean, uplifting, inspiring, positive, spiritual, and wholesome. A child should be able to read my posts and not pick up bad language and an adult should read my posts and not come away with a sick, defiled feeling. The Bible did say “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Many social networking sites are filled with posts that do not bring glory to God. “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” The attitude of http://www.zaratenews.com and the twitter posts must bring glory to God.
When the attitude is right, you attract the right people. Make no mistake about it, this site is not a complaining board! If you have a problem, pray! Talk to God about it! I am willing to pray with you but don’t do it in a gossipping manner (i.e. Let’s pray for Johnny. He’s just evil!). God tells us in His Word that “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” I don’t need to “sit in the seat of the scornful.” I believe social networking can work if the attitude is right!
The second principle is discipline. It is imperative as Paul writes that we should “keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Do you know how many lives have been ruined because of poorly disciplined internet use? Discipline is necessary! Anything can be addictive and we better watch out that we don’t turn into social networking addicts. Honestly, I love my family and friends and would love to know what’s going on in their lives. But I should never leave my place of service to check on the status “of my people.” There is a definite time and a definite place. How would you feel if on a Sunday morning, while your pastor is preaching, he answers his cell phone or decides to check on his network? How would you feel if while you’re talking to your children, they go to the computer and update their blog? A lack of discipline leads to a lack of courtesy, which is a sinful behavior. Therefore, any twitter or blog posts must be done with a mind of discipline- at the right place and at the right time. And with only 140 characters, it will be difficult to get into too much trouble wasting time and saying the wrong things, though it is still entirely possible.
Here’s what I’ve concluded, in and of themselves, there is nothing wrong with the technology of social networking. As a matter of fact, it can often times be a source of encouragement and inspiration. There are times I read my friends’ blog posts and my heart leaps with joy for the blessings God bestows upon them. But as Paul said in Romans, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of.” If you believe that there truly is nothing morally and spiritually wrong, then by faith use the technology to honor Christ and glorify His name! But if you believe it to be wrong, then don’t allow anyone to talk you into participating in something that violates your conscience.
As for the Zarate household, as we add another member, you can follow us on twitter.com or zaratenews.com. God bless you!
If I become a SNA (social networking addict) please email or text me