If you and I intend to have wholesome, satisfying family relationships, we’ll have to manage the impact of the technological explosion on our lives. Failure to limit these influences on our lives accounts for a part of the discouraging family statistics of our day.
We live in an unprecedented period of world history; technology is burgeoning like bacteria. This exponential expansion of technology has stretched the potential for good and for evil in equal proportion.
Most human inventions are neither good nor bad in themselves. Consider the printing press. Gutenberg invented his press with the vision of mass-producing the Bible. To be sure, printing technology has wonderfully aided the spread of all kinds of truth in our world. This same technology, however, has been used for far less noble, even ignoble, purposes.
All of this new technology makes possible many new options, and wisdom draws us to make good decisions about them. As our human technology expands, so grows our moral responsibility for its use. All morality springs from this self-evident truth: the mere fact that a given thing can be done does not mean it should be done. In other words, ability and advisability are not necessarily one and the same. Scripture assures us that, even though permissible, an act many not be beneficial. (1 Corinthians 10:23)
Technology enables us to do many things that are not wise to do. It offers us 24-7 entertainment and communication options. Embracing these options without limits, however, is most unwise. At best, we would find ourselves wasting valuable time that could have been better invested elsewhere. At worst, we can subject ourselves to foul mental influences that adversely affect our thought processes.
We have a choice. To appropriately exercise that choice is the moral imperative of the day. We must master the technology and not let it distract or destroy us. Our task is much greater than merely avoiding the blatantly bad stuff. To live in a reasonably wholesome balance in the 21st Century, we’ll have to make some hard decisions to keep even that which is good from displacing the best.
Sir, if you want a quality relationship with God, your spouse, parents, children, siblings, and friends, you cannot afford to watch all the sports available on the networks. Dear lady, neither can you watch all the interesting documentaries, latest movies, popular sit-coms, music specials, and even Christian programs, if you intend to build and maintain quality relationships.
I have discovered that to have a good life with my wife, I have to spend more time with her than I do with Facebook friends. If I want to know what my kids think, I have to spend more time listening to them than I do with Rush, Oprah and Dr. Phil.
The creators of our technology actually provide us help – if we will use it. The cell phone can be turned off or silenced. The answering machine can be turned on. Computers and televisions have on/off switches, so we can appropriately put them in the “off” position.
Still, we have to exercise the wisdom to do the right turning. How much time we spend on the phone, on the computer, watching T.V., and playing video games, is a critical ethical choice. We can’t make unwise decisions here and get the desired outcome for ourselves and our families.
Financial experts have long advised a budget. That is to decide in advance how we will spend our money rather than look back and try to figure out where it went. A financial budget places boundaries on spending our limited income. To create a wholesome financial plan (a budget) and discipline ourselves to live according to it can produce freedom. Perhaps this is a new thought to you: Maybe it is time to realize our need to budget our very limited time, to place reasonable boundaries on how much of our precious time we will spend here and there. Have you ever actually decided how much time you would watch T.V., be online, on your cell phone, or play video games? Have you ever budgeted time for God, your spouse, your children, or other important people in your life? Isn’t it time that you better manage your time? Remember, making the plan is the easy part; working the plan is the difficult part. Never forget that working a good plan beats any other option.
Finally, please read with an open heart the following prayer by the Apostle Paul: “[I pray] that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ… ” (Philippians 1:9,10 emphasis mine). Now, would you pray that meaty prayer for yourself – regularly?