#1 of the 10 commandments. Have no other gods before the One true God. He really is more amazing than anything you will encounter online.
#2. You shall not make for yourself an image/idol of any kind… You must not bow down to them or worship them… How do we feel about the big fish in the social media stream? Do we wanna be them? Do our avatars look anything like us? All this looking at other peoples’ images, and what they portray on their feed – it too often makes us jealous, and it takes our focus away from the amazing wonderfulness of the REAL God.
#3. You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. Not even when you drop your phone down the toilet.
#4. Keep the sabbath day holy. We’ve gotta take a break and not let this rule our lives! #unplug! What does this look like, really? I try to unplug for an entire day once a week, and turn devices off after a certain point in the evening so I can get to sleep better.
#5 Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land… That’s right, mum said turn the device off and show up for dinner. I’m pretty sure she means now, not next week! There’s a good reason to do this one, too. The food is lovely, and the company is even better. You only have one life. Cherish the ones you love, while you have them – do it face to face, with the phone turned off.
#6 You must not murder. Jesus said that being angry at others, or even dismissing them as ‘idiots’ was as bad as murder:
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. Matthew 5.21-22
So what’s really going through ours mind as we read some of that feed?
#7 You must not commit adultery. Or lust after that image of the scantily clad woman/man – they’re even coming at us through the adverts!.
27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. Matthew 5.27-29
Drastic measures are called for to keep our eyes from seeing stuff we didn’t oughta, and there are a range of means to get clean and stay clean – from netnannys to accountability groups. It’s possible, but might require some radical strategies to get there.
#8 You must not steal. Particularly photos or intellectual content. We’re called to honour the owners, the copyrights, and give credit where due.
#9 You must not tell lies about your neighbour. Too easily done on a Facebook comment line. How can we check ourselves before hitting ‘return’? But there’s also a challenge about integrity here too. Are we lying to others by posting only the good stuff? Is it a real, honest, balanced insight into our lives? Without oversharing, how is it possible to avoid projecting a persona that’s been ‘airbrushed’ to perfection?
#10 Do not covet. That means don’t envy your neighbours’ social media following, or their wonderful digital lives and reported experiences. They’re not telling you the whole truth anyway! Can you find – somewhere – the ability to genuinely celebrate your friends’ connections and platform success? Do you see these followers as ‘fans’ to bolster your ego, or as people to serve and encourage?
There’s plenty of food for thought here, and if I’m honest, it leads me to my knees. I don’t think there’s one social media command I’ve kept. LORD, would you come to us and show mercy, and forgive. We are so far from your standard – in our hearts, minds, and digital lives. Come and cleanse us, restore us, give us strength for the challenges, and a genuine change of heart where it’s necessary. Bring us into community, so that together we can help each other engage in this digital world with integrity and honour. May others see the difference, and wonder…
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