Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Technology and the Christian - Part 13

(For context, see Part 1 here; or Part 12 here)

Last time we looked at the fact that the way we use technology often interferes with the personal relationships and communication that God wants us to have.

Let's look at some relevant scripture passages:
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. (Emphasis mine.)
Philippians 2:3 In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Romans 12:10 In honor giving preference to one another

Galatians 5:13 Through love serve one another.

Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them (God's words) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Romans 15:1-2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

After reading passages such as these, I learn that my role as husband and father is one that is supposed to be other focused. I am to be attentive to the needs of my wife, not only giving preference to her, but making sure that she is built up spiritually and emotionally. I am to esteem her as better than myself when it comes to preferences in the use of time, money and activities. I am not to be focused on pleasing myself but on her good so she can be built up in her faith and character.
In addition, I am to spend time at all times of the day in order to instill in my children the words and commandments of God. My focus personally and for my family is one that is to have a God-ward direction. I'm to make sure that I am teaching my children to be focused on the needs and interests of others rather than the natural tendency to focus on self.

However, when I make arrangements for each of my children to have his/her own electronic entertainment, I am teaching them that they don't have to learn to cater to the desires and preferences of others. I am teaching them that each of us can have what we want. Some may argue that such arrangements are not taking away from the preferences of others because they too get to listen to or watch what they want. But the issue is in learning to communicate and submitting to one another. It's difficult to let another person have the choice of the music I have to listen to or the movie we're going to watch. My selfish self rebels against this. If we all have to watch the same movie or listen to the same music and share the same space, we learn to put others first and to share. This doesn't come naturally, but it is what God wants from us. And as parents we need to make our daily instruction an integral part of our dialogue throughout the day's activities. Our decisions about how we use technology impact that daily instruction.

It takes time to build and nurture relationships. It takes time for me to nurture the relationship with my wife and children, and it takes a lot of practice for children to learn to relate with each other in the way I'm describing. The fact that our technology has become ubiquitous and personal has worked against us in the area of personal relationships. In fact just this week as I was working on this, (January 2012), CNN had an article on how multitasking hinders young people's social skills. http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/25/tech/social-media/multitasking-kids/index.html)

We need to take steps to reverse the trend and nurture the personal relationships in our lives the way God intended. As parents we need to make sure we are fulfilling God's desire for us to train up our children in the way they should go. As spouses we need to fulfill God's design for marriage by being all there for our spouse throughout the moments of every day.

...To Be Continued...   Part 14 available after it is published here.

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