Quotes from “Social Media and Digital Discernment”



In his post dated November 10, 2010, entitled Social Media and Digital Discernment, Pastor John MacArthur addresses some issues that you will agree affect all of our lives, and he makes some suggestions for how a Christian should look at them. I strongly urge you to click on the link above and read the whole article.  Following are quotes from this thoughtful, thought-provoking, (but lengthy) article–please don’t let the length deter you–this is one thing you will not regret taking time for, after you have read it. I urge you to read it and then pass it on.

“Social networking can be a useful tool when used to communicate the right things—messages that honor Christ, exalt His Word, and direct people to profitable tools for spiritual growth.

But social networking can also be abused. When it consists of nothing more than random babblings and personal monologues, it can become self-centered, unrestrained and narcissistic. When it consumes our lives, it can be addictive and controlling. Used unwisely, it is filled with potential pitfalls and temptations. For those who follow Christ, we are called to submit every area of our lives to His lordship—including how we use social media.” 



“Gervase Markham, a Mozilla Foundation programmer quoted inThe Sydney Morning Herald, echoes that same concern: ‘Social networking encourages people to have a greater number of much shallower friendships. I know what 15 of my friends had for breakfast, but I don’t know whether any of them is struggling with major life issues. If this trend continues, people in 2020 will have hundreds of acquaintances, but very few friends.’5″

“Moreover, it often distracts people from existing relationships. Instead of pouring themselves into the real-life friendships they currently have, people now spend hours with pseudo-friends online. This is especially seen within the family, where social networking constantly threatens to invade, bringing a barrage of cultural influence into the private world of family life. In the home, focused training in godliness is essential for the development of spiritually-healthy relationships and biblical worldviews. But instant distraction is only a text message away.


“In 1 Corinthians 10:23–24, Paul explains an important principle about Christian liberty. He writes, ‘All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.’ If we apply that truth to the world of social media, we can quickly separate that which is valuable from that which is merely wood, hay, and stubble. Tweeting about the inane details of life might not be sinful, but if it doesn’t build others up spiritually, it might be better left unsaid.

“As believers, the command of Ephesians 5:15–16 is just as binding upon our modern lives as it was in the non-technological world of the first century. ‘Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.’ Paul’s exhortation has massive implications for how we interact with social media. One day we will stand before Christ to give an account for how we used His resources (including our time and energy). With that in mind, how much of this life can be justifiably devoted to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like? Just a few hours each day, over the course of a lifetime, adds up to years of wasted opportunity.”


“Even the majority of social media users admit that self-promotion is at its core: ‘A national study fresh out of SDSU is confirming that Generation Y really is Generation Me. The jaw-dropping conclusion? 57% of young people believe their generation uses social networking sites for self-promotion, narcissism and attention seeking.’22 In the words of one British journalist: ‘The Me-Man is everywhere. And so is the Me-Woman. They are the millions of men and women . . . from every class, age and profession who want to talk about themselves, expose themselves, and promote themselves in glorious and often gory detail. . . . They blog and bleat and tweet and text you all the time. The medium may vary, but the message is always the same: Me. ‘Me, Me, Me!’”23″

“Mature believers reflect deeply on the things of God and the truths of His Word.  They are not a mile wide and an inch deep. Instead their lives are marked by rich devotion, focused study, prolonged prayer, and careful meditation. Cultivating those kinds of spiritual disciplines takes time and effort—traits that are rarely prized in the information age.


“God’s Word repeatedly calls us to use our minds wisely. We are to think on things that are right and true (Phil. 4:8) as we test all things carefully (1 Thess. 5:21) and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Our minds are to be renewed (Rom. 12:2) as we allow the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16). We are to be sober-minded (1 Cor. 15:34) as we set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2) and prepare them for action (1 Pet. 1:13).
Clearly, God cares how we think and what we think about. Insofar as social media websites cultivate the trivialization of profound truths, while simultaneously fostering shorter attention spans, believers would do well to proceed carefully.”
Once something is posted online it can be seen by anyone else. Once it’s cached, there is a permanent record of it. That means every status update and every tweet is part of the believer’s public testimony as a Christian.”


“As Paul told the Galatians, ‘I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me’ (2:20). Like Paul and every other believer, my life is no longer my own. The focus must not be on me, but on Christ. When someone hears from me publicly, I want it all to point to Him.”

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5 Replies to “Quotes from “Social Media and Digital Discernment””

  1. Yep, God will lead us. Following the crowd instead of Him, we will always eventually go wrong, but asking Him to tell me what He wants me to do and then doing it is the path of wisdom and discernment. I'm reminded of Solomon's son who went to his peers–the guys he'd grown up with–for advice, instead of listening to the wise Godly older men–it got him into a lot of trouble. The pressure on people to do things against their consciences, and better judgment, is intense, but it's a mark of immaturity and lack of discernment to not see the dangers ahead–the potential consequences–and avoid them. Lives are being ruined. We must, as you say, commit everything to Him.
    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sharon!
    Wendy

  2. Oh, this was just SO good!

    I hesitated to start blogging for so many reasons. I'm glad that I did – mostly because I feel that God really wanted me to do it. But, it's been a journey – as I've learned to try to separate myself from the tyranny of wondering about #'s – followers/comments. I have to re-commit myself over and over to my primary purpose – to point to the Lord, and His message. I just want Him to be seen THROUGH me…

    Thanks for this very good reminder.

    Hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    GOD BLESS!

  3. Phyllis,
    Yes. Temptation affects everyone. I may think that I can handle it, it's other people who let it get out of control, but then I need to beware, when I think I stand, lest I fall, and secondly, consider who I may have caused to fall by my example.
    Wendy

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