Knowing God Cares

Understanding Grace, Faith, and Foregiveness

Effects of Social Media on Family

Written By: Beverly Morrison-Wickwire - Feb• 11•14

Recently I was pondering the effects of social media on the family. As I was doing so a humorous story came to mind.

A pastor wanted to share his opinion on a major doctrinal issue with his congregation.  Knowing that regardless of how much effort he put into his reasoning, many of them would not agree with him, he prayed over the message until he felt comfortable with how to present his case. As he stood in the pulpit reading the Text, he outlined the principles that God had wanted him to share, then he began walking back and forth across the stage as he did each week during his sermon.  The audience listened intently as he guided them into the study, carefully instructing them on the background of the content. No one paid much attention to the fact that he had slowly made his way down the steps and onto the floor level, or the that he was walking toward the side exit of the sanctuary.  As every eye in the building fixed upon him, and everyone in the room sat captivated by his words, he abruptly told them that he was now going to make a statement about his theology from which he knew dissension would come. Putting his hand on the exit bar of the door, he looked at the silent group and said, “Now, here is what God really says and what I truly believe about this.”  With that, he walked out the door.  The laughter and applause were still flowing freely as he re-entered from the front doors and made his way down the center aisle, but his point was made.  When we share a theological concept about which we know people are very passionate, we better take cover, because the backlash can be unyielding.

effect of social media on familyAs I share a biblical principle today, like the pastor just mentioned, I know that some may not agree.   However, I believe that we cannot remain silent on the major issues that we believe God wants us to share simply because they are not the popular opinion.

When I was a child, I sat in a church pew and heard a pastor speaking about the end times. He was outlining the scene of the second coming of Jesus and doing a great job painting a picture for us. However, when he started discussing the beast, I became somewhat perplexed. He explained to the group that the beast described in the book of The Revelation was, in fact, a computer.  He stressed that this device would one day deceive the world and begin to take control of the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Many people rolled their eyes and shuffled around, some even sighed in disagreement. Though as a child I had never even heard of a computer, I was intrigued by his words, and they have remained in my memory. Now as I watch what is happening all around us each day, I can see  that his message has some merit and validity. Here’s why:

No matter where you go, the scene repeats itself, as many people are engrossed in social media.  From the youngest to the oldest, the behavior is the same and now, I understand what that elderly pastor was saying so many years ago. Seemingly gone are the days when families would sit in a restaurant and tell stories as they shared a meal together. Instead, as they take their seats, many place their phones on the table so that they can see and hear when someone in the cyber world says something new. Rather than exchange ideas and laughter with those at the table with them, most will silently text responses to someone who is miles away.

effect of social media on family

Effect of Social Media

In countless households children will come home from school and rush to grab a tablet or hop on a computer and remain there until those dreaded words, “It’s bedtime.”  For literally hours, silence will abound with exception to an occasional snicker heard only by someone who is nearby.  A question I often ponder is, “Where are the parents while this is going on?” In many cases, they are in another room with their own tablet or laptop interacting with the “friends” made through social media.  The Sunday traditions allowing families to spend quality time together have been traded in for chats, tweets, texts, etc. And sadly, rather than sharing a concern with a trusted family member, acquaintances from the net stand at the ready with a resolution at their fingertips.

As I witness the phenomenon numerous times on a daily basis, my spirit is filled with fear as to what result will come of this.   Let your mind go back through the years, then look at the big picture and be honest about what you see.  Are our families growing distant? Are we missing out on our children’s lives?  Are we spending quality time with those we love while we have them with us?

Social media is not all bad.  In fact, it can be used to our advantage as we seek to share the Gospel with as many as possible. It is also a wonderful way to keep up with family and life-long friends. Thankfully many people do indeed use social media in these fun and beneficial ways.  However, like many major changes in our society, i.e. welfare, women’s lib, unemployment, etc., an idea is great and good for many people, unless it is taken too far.  Then these same ideas can easily become a nemeses to society and, as a result, society begins to break down.

effects of social mediaWhat is the solution, then? Well, it would be wise first to consider what God may think of the situation and ask ourselves if He would approve.  According to Ps. 127:3, children are a gift, a heritage, a treasure. Are we treating them as such, investing the time in them that is necessary to see that they grow into well-balanced adults? What do we do with a treasure? We guard it and make sure it is in safe keeping. Are we caring as much for our children? The book of Proverbs is filled with lessons on family life. There are literally too many to name (Prov. 2, 3, 4, 22, 31, and more). In Mark 10, Jesus tells us that, “ . . . The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” He was speaking about children. If the list of biblical references about relationships were printed, numerous Scriptures would fill several pages. God places great importance on the family which includes parents, children, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc. In fact, much of the Bible is about our relationships with one another.

Since social media is an ingenious concept, the solution is not to label it as though it were “the beast” and the enemy at our doorstep.  It would, however, seem the family needs to work towards a balance between the use of the net and time spent together. Maybe we could sit and play a game on the laptop, together. Or, we could consider setting aside a little time each day where all social media was silenced for a bit.  Anything would be acceptable as long as the goal was met: Communicate with our family.

effects of social media on familySatan is crafty. (Gen. 3:1) He always has been, and  always will be. If he can destroy us at our root, our family, he can destroy our world. The Bible reads, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8 NASB) It is imperative that we are on “alert” – like a Soldier in a watchtower – carefully guarding our home.

You may consider asking yourself, “Where is my family spiritually?” When we stand before God, we are going to be accountable for those closest to us.  Can we say with absolute assurance that we have shared Jesus with our family, and that we know we will all be together in Heaven? What if we put down our phones, our tablets, and our computers and make sure everything is as it should be.  God Bless.

Thanks for Reading. I would LOVE your Questions or Comments.

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