My maltipoo, Roscoe, has a short attention span when it comes to two words. No matter what my furboy is doing—even sleeping!—if I say either “rabbit” or “lizard,” he stops what he’s doing, cocks his head, and then look toward the back door or a nearby window.
Roscoe wonders, I think, “What am I missing? Is there a rabbit out there? A lizard?”
I have to admit I’m a Roscoe when it comes to the daily news and social media. No matter what I’m doing, it doesn’t take much to distract me these days.
“I wonder what’s happening on Facebook?”
“What’s up in the news? What am I missing?
Rabbits and lizards. Sad, huh?
The worst thing about media distraction is, it takes up a lot of precious time.
Time that can never be reclaimed (Psalm 90:12).
- Time with the Lord in prayer.
- Time reading or memorizing scripture.
- Time with family.
- Time writing about things that matter.
- Time sharing the Gospel.
- Time working hard with purpose.
- Time to be creative.
- Time to rest my heart and mind—away from all the stressful voices that disturb my peace and joy.
Now I am, by nature, a woman with a lot of curiosity. It’s not that I’m nosy; I just love learning about things. And I’m not condemning these things per se: the Internet and media are sources for learning. (Even though I need to be careful to weigh what we learn against the truth of scripture.)
My rule of thumb is: The news and social media should enhance our lives, not become our lives.
But the enemy of my soul would like to keep me more curious about and loving the things of this world rather than the things that count for eternity—my relationship with God, people with souls, and the eternal Word of God. It’s a pretty powerful scheme (2 Corinthians 2:11). Part of his strategy in my life is getting me addicted to media.
The recent Presidential election kept me glued to my television. I was constantly turning my head, checking out what the most influential talking head of the hour thought about the candidates and how their platforms lined up with world issues. In the process, I got caught up reading a lot of things that made for nastiness and division.
I foolishly thought that would all stop after November 2016. But it didn’t. The nastiness and division continues. And Christians are caught up in it too. Christian friends who share similar doctrines have parted ways over political and social “preferences.”
Have we no respect and civility? Have we forgotten love?
Jesus said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Paul said we’re to outdo ourselves in honoring one another (Romans 12:10).
And if a Facebook friend suddenly feels like an enemy? Jesus said to even love our enemies and pray for them! (Matthew 5:44)
I’ve learned I do not need to comment on every negative post; and I’m asking the Lord to help me discern when to share and when to stay silent (Proverbs 26:4-5).
It’s silly to end up in pointless quarrels with people who just want to debate (2 Timothy 2:23-24). But there are also times we need to speak up to expose weak, unbiblical thinking in the church. We need to speak truth while letting love reign, and pursue, with godly wisdom, what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding (James 1:5; Romans 14:19).
And sometimes, we just need to step away from the constant distraction of media and social media—so many voices—and seek the Lord and listen for His voice.
We need to focus on what is of “first importance”—getting out the freeing Gospel message and living in light of it (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We can’t afford distractions.
We’ve got to learn how to deal with those pesky rabbits and lizards!
How can you let media enhance your life without letting it control (or become) your life?