Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cell phones, Texting and Patience or Raising Biblical Children in a Techie World

Ah, the wonder of technology! My mother-in-law had to wait several weeks to hear from her fiancee' overseas during WWII. I had to wait several days to hear from acquaintances in other states, and my children have to wait several...well...seconds to hear from a friend anywhere. Amazing! The ability to text a message quickly and receive an answer immediately is nothing short of astonishing and I thank God for this incredible gift. Nevertheless, in this second part of a series on cell phones and texting (face-booking) I would like to step back, slow down and reflect on the idea of patience. I am in no way suggesting that going back to snail mail is my heart's desire. This capability to reach anyone anywhere quickly is wonderful; however, let's understand that with the good sometimes also comes the bad.

On the material level, upgrades to cell phones, texting, Internet accessibility, and photo capabilities happen, it seems, almost daily. Getting the newest and the best is rampant among consumers today. What used to take years to get "old" now takes weeks. It's hard to keep up! It isn't easy to teach our children the concept of contentment in this fast paced world in which we live. The spiritual command to be content has always been a difficult battle to fight, and today, ironically, the same technology that affords us so much convenience is a huge
catalyst in making us very discontented. And impatience is a large part of discontentment.

We have become a very impatient people. I can see it in myself when I travel to an area that runs a bit slower than I am used to. I get agitated, angry, and irritated so quickly. I want my desires fulfilled immediately. I believe this is due in part to the "instant" society in which we live. All these things that make our lives easier haven't really seemed to make us more content. In fact, there are probably more discontented people now than ever.

The ability to quickly communicate with people also has its downside. I can remember as a young adult writing a letter to a friend in the morning and by nighttime coming to the conclusion that it was best not to send it...or at least to change some of the things I wanted to say. When I had time to think about it, most of what I had written, in anger or in gossip, I had decided was best left unsaid. We often send messages without giving the proper amount of thought that is required. It is much easier to quickly call somebody about something that we should probably think through first.

Patience is a virtue my mother always said. Indeed it is an important part of our spiritual walk with the Lord. Raising beautiful Biblical daughters and Biblically discerning sons does not mean that we may not use the advantages of technology, but as usual it requires diligent training and maturity. Texting and cell phones can and are used for great good (Hey Mom, just wanted to say I love you and have a great day), wonderful conveniences (I'll be home in ten minutes) or sinful exchanges (Did you hear what she said....?) Let us work at being content with what we have even if it isn't the latest and the best, and let us think before we send a message to anyone that isn't God honoring.

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