The first part (written sometime ago now) of this short series covered the ‘do nots’ of using the internet. It was all about creating a good set of filters, both on your computer but more importantly in your heart. There are plenty of things that are easily accessible that every Christian should guard against. Some of them are obvious and some, maybe not so much.
But being against things is only half the job. God intended that we do good not merely avoid doing evil. So what practices should we adopt in our use of the internet?
Once again, the Bible can help you. The values that you apply off-line should be exactly the same ones that you apply on-line.
Daniel Lohrmann in his book, Virtual Integrity talks about ‘surfing your values’ and building ‘virtual integrity’. He encourages the reader to re-examine the New Testament and ask ‘what values were the early Christians for?’
At this point we might want to consider passages such as Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 4:8-9 and James 1:19.
The values I want to live by off-line are exactly the same ones I want to use on-line and it’s certainly possible.
As a family we have five values we want to deliberately and consciously foster.
- Be kind
- Be truthful
- Be loving
- Be generous
- Be encouraging
Our task is to make sure that the way we engage with others on social media, the way we present ourselves and the things we look for and do are either consistent with or actively strengthen these values. I certainly think many people’s experience of social media would change radically if more adopted these five values. Just think what Twitter would be like.
Certainly the internet has created more ways and opportunities to be generous and reduce poverty or support mission than ever before.
In addition we love (at least my wife and kids do) being creative and the internet is a constant never-ending source of inspiration for creativity. The problem often relates to purpose and intent. It’s no good simply looking at other people’s ideas if yours never see the light of day. So we have to surf with intent and purpose and then at some point switch off and go do.
What would be your values that you could put into practice when using the internet?