What must go out the door?

Apr 1, 2024 | Editorial, Parents

How do we balance what we confess with our church attendance and keep up with the technological advances of modern media? What is allowed and what is not allowed? This is especially difficult for our young people when there are no black-and-white rules for what is allowed. In his book, “Upon Thy Paths,” Rev. A.T. Huiser writes about the following incident that took place some years ago:

I once spoke with someone who had a large television screen in his living room. Such a device and a Christian lifestyle cannot go hand in hand. I felt obligated to say something about this. At the end of the visit, I pointed to the television, and before I could even utter a word, the man already sat on the edge of his chair and said, “Do you know of what I am fully convinced? When God comes into my life, this will be the first thing that will go out the door.”

How many of us go through life using modern media with similar thoughts? We may attend church faithfully, but at the same time, we are immersed in the technological advancements of the world. Even if we know something is wrong, we might think, “If I am converted, then I will cancel my Netflix subscription,” or “Then I will delete my Instagram account,” or “Then I will stop following my favourite sports team on my smartphone,” or “Then I will truly fight against my pornography desires.” In this, we follow the lusts of our flesh, and Satan laughs.

Indeed, we cannot convert ourselves. However, that is not an excuse to continue in whatever we desire. Instead, immersing ourselves without restraint in modern media is very dangerous. Technology has changed so much in the last decades that it influences us more than we realize.  

 

Dangers of modern media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok all have a “Reel” section where users can scroll through short videos from influencers from around the world. These platforms also have complicated algorithms to predict the next video we want to watch. In this way, the world continually influences us based on what we see, and sin can quickly become normalized. Movies and TV shows that are available on dozens of subscription sites and can be viewed on our phones or computers also have the same influence. When hours are spent on these sites, we can slowly acclimate to what we watch, and our thoughts and desires change.

An example of how much modern media has changed society can be seen with the LGBQT issue. In 2008, when he was running for President, Barack Obama’s official position was opposed to gay marriage and agreed with the traditional definition of marriage. Now consider sixteen years later how far society has moved on this issue. Sixteen years ago, a Democrat presidential candidate had a traditional marriage position, and now it is hard to publicly find that in even Republican or Conservative candidates. Recently, the Pope has even said he will be delighted to bless same-sex marriages.  

What has changed in the last sixteen years that could have changed society’s perception? Movies and TV have been pushing a liberal agenda for much longer than the previous sixteen years. However, TV and movies have moved from limited to unlimited availability in the last decade. Now, someone can spend an entire weekend watching a TV series sequentially on their phone or tablet. However, the more significant change is how everything, especially social media, is available on your smartphone at any hour of the day. The average time U.S. teenagers spend on social media is 4.8 hours per day. Each of these hours we spend on social media or watching movies is spent slowly influencing us. This is what has caused such a drastic shift in morals in our society.

 

What must we do?

Considering how much society has changed, we must be cautious that we have not changed ourselves. If we immerse ourselves in modern media, eventually, we will change! Watching videos on our smartphones will make it harder to keep our minds focused on reading. By continually seeing worldly talk, worldly dress, and worldly lifestyle, our perceptions of what is right and wrong will slowly change!

So what must we do? Must some aspects of modern media go out the door, or do we continue to allow them to influence us? There are options for us and our children. We can cancel our video streaming subscriptions. We can delete our social media profiles. We can use technology to search (i.e. Google) for how to set parental controls for our loved ones’ phones so that we can control which apps are appropriate for them. But most importantly, we must beg the Lord to create in us a right spirit because just changing our lives is not enough! Let us consider what it says in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”