Years ago when the internet first became mainstream, there were voices cautioning us that it would be the devil’s tool; that it would bring nothing but trouble and grief to those who used it. Today, it’s true that you can feed your sex addiction, buy elicit material, have an affair, surf porn and violence, and basically feed any unhealthy desire you have. On the other hand, you can also talk to an old friend on the other side of the world, initiate positive change at a grass roots level, discover the answer to any Trivial Pursuit question you might have in a matter of moments, and really access the entire world at any given time, with little more expense than an instant of your life.
Facebook is an interesting little tool. People are walking away from it daily, trying to escape a myriad negative consequences, including, but not limited to, Facebook Envy, which is evidently now a “treatable” psychiatric condition. Again, the voices begin, touting the dangers and evils of Facebook. Or Twitter. Instagram… And yet, I love nothing more than being able to see my friend, Kat, who just moved out of state, in “real time,” or keeping up with my sisters in Hawai’i. Connecting with friends I haven’t seen since high school or college. Or even childhood. Getting daily inspiration from the Lisa Beveres and Joel Osteens of the world…
Ironically, the loudest voices of warning can sometimes be from those who tout the bible as the answer to all and would spend more time than not, pointing fingers at those who don’t do things “right.” But then, the bible itself has been used to support, perpetuate and create endless havoc, death and spiritual destruction. The flip side of that, of course, being those who would take the words of God and spend their lives and freedom sharing the good news of grace and love.
It’s all in how you use it.
New tools often bring with them extraordinary opportunity, for growth or for evil. The more powerful the tool, the greater the potential for destruction. At the end of the day, all a tool does for a person is to magnify what is already in the heart. I think that’s why God warns us to guard our hearts. He calls it the wellspring of life. The tiniest bit of curiosity or lust, unchecked, can easily be made manifest in those things meant to bring the greatest good.
(Insert laughter…) Isn’t man funny?
How do we guard our hearts? We get honest with ourselves. No guilt or condemnation. Just getting real with who we are and choosing to have enough self-awareness to walk out the consequences of any decision to its greatest end. If you struggle with jealousy, choose to count your own blessings instead of longing for someone else’s. Want to keep sexually pure for your wife? Don’t even entertain your curiosity about that website. Desiring to live a fuller life? Set limits on your own screen time. Longing to grow spiritually? Pursue study, quiet time and prayer. Look deep inside at what you truly desire, and who you actually are. If there is a discrepancy, work on it.
It’s really easy to assign blame, but at the end of the day, it’s really up to each individual to use what they have been given, appropriately. Strive to be diligent, to check oneself, to be authentic. Choose your tools wisely. And use them well.