Spiritual Computer Safety
When I took a computer class in college the highlight of the course was getting to actually see the computer – which was housed in a room by itself. During the semester I also remember seeing a smaller piece of equipment (I think they called it a “personal computer” because of it its size), but I didn’t pay too much attention to it because, after all, if it took a computer the size of a classroom to do simple accounting processes what could that dinky thing do? That was circa 1980 ... it is incredible how things have changed!
Often, when we discuss computers and spirituality, we tend to focus on pornography, but that’s not the direction I want to take this discussion. Computers – complete with the development of the internet and the prevalence of social media – impact our mind and our spirit just about every day. In light of this, I want to provide a few suggestions for keeping us spiritually safe in the modern technological world.
1. Don’t take to heart everything we see on the computer. There is a lot of talk about “fake news” today, but the fakeness doesn’t stop there: there is also false religion, pseudo-spiritual advice and ungodly gossip. Let’s be diligent in our quest for truth and remember the challenge, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1).
2. When the computer starts to get us down, take a break. The “web” can ensnare even the best of us. It is easy to become discouraged (and even angry) at all we see today, but it is tempting to keep looking at it. When we start to feel overwhelmed by all the negatives, let’s take a break and shut down (both our device and our brain). Let’s be okay with turning off the machine and tuning in to the good in the world. Paul reminds us, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).
3. Be willing to disconnect from certain people. A case can be made for the freedom to be able to send and say whatever people choose, but that doesn’t mean we have to be exposed to it. We don’t have to accept all “friend requests” and we can ask people to stop forwarding us stuff we don’t want. We must remember to be gracious (but, pointed) if we choose to explain why we are severing our electronic relationship. If we choose not to explain, it is okay to just say, “Please stop!”.
Machines are supposed to work for us and make things easier. Let’s remember that our computers (whether they sit on our desk or are carried in our pocket) are tools, not our lifeblood.