Do Christians have an obligation to make the internet better?
I think so, but for me and some of you, it is going to take work. As Reformed Christians we know that everything is being redeemed by God—even the giant, sometimes dark and sinister hole we call the internet. What if we adjusted our attitudes a bit and took a more positive approach? Might people in our circles of influence be less likely to write us off? Here are a few thoughts:
Be grateful: Although it wasn’t included in Genesis on the day-by-day list of created things, technology in all its forms is and was known to God. Be on the lookout for ways internet technology has enhanced your life.
Be open to learning: Some of us talk as if the internet was invented yesterday. It was actually launched in 1983—almost 40 years ago. Asking anyone under 35 to “just give it up” is like asking you to stop using your microwave. Instead, ask questions, listen well, and learn to speak intelligently about the good as well as the bad.
Walk with the wise: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20, ESV). That’s true for our wandering around the internet as well. Be deliberate about whom you choose to follow online. If someone or something makes you feel worse rather than better after spending time with it, take note and make a change.
Be yourself: It’s easy to forward something from someone else, but it’s so much better to post an original picture, write a unique post, or discover a new way to use the technology.
Be open to sharing: For something used by so many people—around 4.6 billion users worldwide—the internet can be a lonely place rife with misinformation. Bring your online wanderings up in conversation to inspire others and to check your sources.
Take it to church: Every person gathering with us has been touched by the internet in one way or another. Rather than highlighting the negatives (misinformation, too much screen use, those devices), how about a class or two on how to use it to engage others in a helpful, positive way?
Take it further: If you’re particularly wise and ambitious, get involved in internet policy at the local, regional, and national levels to make sure this gift is well looked after.