Overcoming the Influence of Technology’s Power
Temptations and secret sins, and by that, I am pointing out to sins committed behind closed doors or with no physical witnesses present, have plagued mankind since Adam and Eve ate of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden- the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent deceived the woman by convincing her that she won’t die and her eyes will be opened as soon as she took a bite of the fruit, and she will be like God, knowing both good and evil. The tree was indeed beautiful and its fruits looked delicious, and because the woman sought after the wisdom it would give her, she took a bite, then offered it to her husband who was with her, and foolishly he ate it too instead of admonishing her and casting the serpent away! Immediately, their eyes were opened and they became aware of their nakedness, which they covered up by sewing fig leaves.
As evening drew closer, the man and his wife felt the presence of God walking through the garden. In their wisdom, they tried to deceive the Omniscient Father by hiding from his presence as a way to cover up what they perceived as a secret sin. God quickly interrogated the man and his wife to find out if they had eaten from the tree whose fruit He had commanded them not to eat. The man replied in the affirmative, while pointing fingers at his wife, who gave him a bite. The Great Curse was then meted out from God as a punishment, and its effects we are still experiencing in this day and age. The full story of the fall of man can be found in Genesis 3:1-24.
The Role of Technology and Social Media
Fast-forwarding to our present times, we are still contending with temptations and secret sins. As humans, we are subject to our senses- what we see, hear, feel, smell and taste. With the rise of technology and digital media, so have their influences, both positive and negative, skyrocketed in unimaginable dimensions and directions. Technology has led to breakthroughs with cellphones and their various applications, advancement in graphics and game console development, hospital equipment, and industrial machinery to name a few.
Digital media has birthed innovative advancement in products in the areas of social media, eCommerce, video, animation, augmented reality, interactive storytelling, websites, mobile applications, games, virtual reality, data visualization, and location-based services. The influence of digital media cannot be overemphasized. Digital media, in essence, cuts across a wide range of industries which include but are not limited to television, education, sports, publishing, government, health, eCommerce, environment, non-profit, and marketing and advertising. All the aforementioned industries and their products can be found all around us and deeply affect our senses in one way or another, especially with what we see and hear.
Social media is one area of digital media that I want to touch on in depth. Social media keeps growing at an alarming rate with networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. These platforms allow you to connect with just anyone, from someone you attended elementary school with, to coworkers and celebrities. Spending time on these sites and applications allow users to connect with a larger virtual community all over the world. Although connecting with other people is great and forms a sense of social inclusion, such virtual connections also have a negative side.
Social media leads to a false sense of connection which inhibits the development of real relationships in the real world. An atmosphere is created which makes it increasingly difficult to differentiate between fostering stronger relationships in real life versus weaker and false virtual connections online. Cyber- bullying has become more prevalent on social media with kids suffering as the worst victims of predators and their peers alike. The orchestrators of this shameful act, terrorize their victims by publishing gut-wrenching content to humiliate them in front of their peers. This can lead to mental scarring, and sadly in some cases even suicide because the victims find it extremely tough to handle the shame that stems from it.
Social media has made it increasingly easy and convenient for users to publish posts and content that reveal what otherwise would have been very private aspects of their personal lives. Social media allows users to share their travel experiences, their location, activities they like, and celebrate their loved ones. It affords users the opportunity to express themselves freely, a privilege which was previously granted only to celebrities to share their personal lives with their fans and followers. It has created a nightmare and privacy concern especially because most posts or shared content remain online perpetually. In cases whereby teenagers and young adults post content about partying and take ridiculous amounts of shots, or being reckless or plainly stupid by partaking in silly online challenges like eating Tide pods meant for doing laundry among others, they forget they ruin their chances of getting employed or even being recruited by colleges and sports teams who conduct background checks on them.
Pornography and Promiscuity
The advent of the Internet led not only to the positive aspects of digital media, but also to the ever-increasing influence of pornography and promiscuity on social media platforms. Whereas some people and organizations use their pages and platforms to encourage others through daily and positive inspirational posts and videos, others promote sexually explicit content and share it on the various social media pages and on websites. Recent technological inventions in the past few decades have led to the development of advanced products such as television, cable, computers and cellphones, which have made pornographic content more easily accessible to anyone with a stable internet connection, sadly even kids! If changes are not made or care is not taken, I can only imagine what kind of world future generations would have to thrive in.
Once in a while, I get follow requests from pages that promote pornographic content and each time I boldly decline them because I don’t want to open any doors of sin in my life and marriage. There are men and women who secretly have fallen victim to the snare of pornography. The curiosity of their minds have led them to check out pages, click on usernames and links online that promote pornographic and promiscuous behavior. The curiosity of the human mind has the power to lead to partaking in secret sins as seen in the story of the downfall of mankind (Adam and Eve) as referenced in the opening two paragraphs of this blog post. Pornography leads to masturbation, which in turn becomes an addictive stronghold and leads to rape and aggressive sexual behavior.
Pornography has a drug-like effect on the body and mind in the sense that it not only affects what the eyes see and ears hear, but also stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain. It has a dramatic effect on the production of dopamine, which acts as a neurotransmitter which directly impacts sexual arousal like the effect of being high on drugs. It also increases the production of chemicals that promote a sexually good feeling such testosterone, endorphins, adrenaline, and serotonin, when pornography is used as a tool for sexual stimulation.
Peer Pressure and Keeping Up Appearances
The widespread presence of social media has also led to a false sense of perception for some users, who tend to put up posts to keep up appearances just to get likes from their followers. Some users even take having followers to another twisted dimension, which causes them to act like celebrities in some sense and thrive off false identities fueled by the number of likes they get. On a personal level, it breaks my heart when I see posts of young and promising ladies who reveal too much of their cleavage or legs just to get the attention from others. In the same light, some guys also use keeping fit and gym workouts as excuses to flaunt their muscle gain, and achieving higher levels of their strength threshold just to get attention on social media. There is nothing wrong with achieving new strength goals, the problem arises from the motive behind it. If it is to encourage others to lose weight and gain lean muscle mass then that’s great by all means. There has been also a rise in the number of models who just show off their bodies even to the point of complete nudity on numerous pages, and unsurprisingly they have tons of followers because we all have the tendency to feed our eyes and ears even if it means we are committing sins against our Father.
To overcome the negative effects of social media, ranging from pornography and promiscuity, to false identities and thriving on likes as a measure of social acceptance and status, we have to call on God to help us focus our hearts and minds on Him and the realities of heaven, and not on the temporary challenges and superficial distractions on earth. Next, we have to keep our guards up with covenant eyes and ears, filtering what we look at and listen to- photos, videos, television shows and music, and the people and pages we follow. We ought to steer clear of people and pages with content that hinder our spiritual growth and personal development.
Let’s use our social media pages and platforms to spread the good news of the Lord- the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), spread love to others not just with our words but with faith-backed deeds. If we know anyone who is suffering from the negative influence of digital media, we should first pray for them, and seek help from centers of influence such as parents, pastors, teachers, healthcare providers, counselors and therapists, employers, and support groups. This canker must be rooted out since it has the capability to negatively affect real life relationships and the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of the men, women and children, who make up our world.
““You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand —causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
Matthew 5:27-30 NLT
Father, we come before Your throne of grace with praise, honor and adoration. We humbly ask You to forgive us of all acts of unrighteousness when we give in to sin and temptations. We commit all our senses into Your mighty hands and ask for protection against the snare of the enemy and his legions, who always seek to devour Your children. Dear Lord, help us to keep our eyes fixed on You and the realities of Heaven, and not on the temporary troubles and many distractions here on earth. Finally, give us the physical, mental and spiritual fortitude to overcome all the tactics of the enemy to give in to the flesh, and the pleasures of sin and temptations. We thank You for this victory through Your Son Jesus, our Lord and personal Savior! AMEN!!!
God loves you all!