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How God Can Redeem Social Media

The internet can be used for bad, but it can also be used for good

Introduction

Out of all the technological innovations that have graced our society, none have changed our lives as much as the internet and social media.

The above statement is not an exaggeration. The amount of convenience and opportunities that the internet has provided is astounding. For example, social networks like X (or Twitter) and Instagram allow us to connect with others from far away. Ebooks and PDFs make it possible to learn and read books online. Finally, the internet allows us to upload videos and other forms of entertainment for others to see.

This is only scratching the surface of what the internet can do. So why does everything today seem so terrible?

It appears that our newfound wealth, as Doug Wilson has put it, creates for us a precarious situation. In other words, we are struggling to adapt to this modern technology. Screens dominate our lives, and this means that people see each other less in person than before. In fact, with things like remote jobs, remote learning, and food delivery apps, it is now possible for a person to almost spend his or her entire life online.

When a society operates like this, we tend to look for a scapegoat for our problems. Consequently, many well-meaning people call for government regulation of smartphones and the internet in general. But what if there was more to this story?

What if our inability to live productive lives due to the internet is not the result of the technology itself, but rather of our sin nature? What if, rather than creating new problems, social media amplifies the problems we already have?

As Christians, we know that Adam’s Original Sin brought brokenness and depravity into the world. As a result, sin has infected everything. We were just as sinful thousands of years ago as we are now. What this means is that our struggles with the internet are largely because of us, not because of our phones.

This is not to say that technology is perfect. The internet can be, and is, used for ill purposes. However, we must remember that Jesus is Lord over everything. This necessarily means that He is Lord over tech, and evidently, He ordained its creation. Additionally, this technology is likely to stay with us for the rest of the foreseeable future. If this is the case, then we have a responsibility to learn how to master the internet and social media.

Believe it or not, it is possible to use the internet in a godly manner. But to learn how to do that, we must start with the family.

Parents, Children, and the Internet

It has often been said that Generation Z and Gen Alpha, today’s young people, suffer the most from the negative effects of the internet. As young people generally lack wisdom and experience, this makes sense. It seems that excessive and unproductive internet use during their youth has left Gen Z largely unequipped to handle the adult world.

This is unfortunate enough, but it does lead to an important question: where were the parents during this time?

And you, fathers [and mothers], do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4, edited)

Now, it is certainly understandable that Christian parents may have more trouble disciplining children today thanks to the internet. None of us truly know the extent of what these devices can do. However, God’s command to parents is still the same. Since He ordained the creation of the internet, we can go to Him in prayer to help us raise godly children in the 21st century.

While children’s circumstances and temperaments may vary, here are three guiding principles parents can use to monitor their kids’ internet use:

  1. How much time do children spend on the internet/social media? If a child’s screen time begins to impede other activities (schoolwork, time outside, time with friends, hobbies, etc.), then he or she lacks restraint. Parents must establish limits in order to help children cultivate self-control, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23).
  2. What are the children watching/doing while on the internet? If your daughter is learning how to play guitar or paint via YouTube, that is certainly okay and wonderful. “Screen time” is not inherently bad if spent productively. However, if your son is binge-watching episodes of Game of Thrones, it might be time for an intervention. 
  3. Is internet use inhibiting the kids’ ability to connect with the parents? Parents may be tempted to use screens to “sedate” their children, especially when they are exhausted. However, the danger with this is such parents may be relying on the tech to raise their kids, rather than themselves. Parents must take care not to let screens do their job for them.

Children tend to learn a lot from the media they consume. If parents do not teach their children, then the world will. Thus, it is important for parents to regularly know how their kids are using these devices. This is essentially no different from monitoring TV watching.

As we can see, technology can indeed enhance a young child’s life. Parents simply need to be vigilant, guiding their children with godly wisdom. When social media is used in a positive way, it attacks a popular narrative that is growing among our society: the internet is inherently evil.

Is Modern Technology Inherently Sinful?

It is easy to believe that the internet and social media have irreparably damaged modern life. However, we must be careful when implying that using social media is sinful. If we take this argument to its logical conclusion, then driving cars is sinful as well. Vehicles are technology, after all.

Of course, most Christians would not make that argument. For example, when a car crash occurs, it is always a tragedy. But we typically don’t blame the car itself for the accident — we blame the driver at fault instead.

The same concept applies to technology. If a man uses the internet to create and distribute “pornography,” that is a problem with him, not the internet. The internet, as an abstract object, cannot sin. But humans who use the internet can sin because we are all sinners who need a Savior. If we believe that technology cannot be used for good in any circumstance, then we forget that we serve a Lord Who can redeem our internet use.

Conclusion

As we have become more accustomed to the internet, we have learned how to use this technology for good. For example, evangelizing on the internet.

Hundreds of Christian sites, including Biblical Christian Worldview, exist thanks to the internet. Additionally, many influential pastors such as John McArthur, Paul Washer, and John Piper can have their teaching reach more people thanks to social media. God is moving and working online, even if it sometimes does not seem like He is.

When we remember that God has authority over the internet, we can be protected from the sin of despair. This technology has a lot of flaws, but if we seek the Lord’s guidance and help, we can use it to help carry out His plan for the world. 


Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

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AuthorBrandon Charles | BCWorldview.org 

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