Internet Fruit

What kind of person are you?

How do you see yourself? Intelligent? Adventurous? Bubbly? Creative? Loving?

Now, here’s a harder question:

What kind of person are you on the internet?

How do other people— people you may never meet face to face— see you?

Is the internet your place to connect? To learn? To discover new ideas?

Or is it your place to rant?

Like magic and the Force, the internet can be used for good or for bad. In the article Online Shaming is Destroying Lives, Jesse Carey writes, “The Internet has become one of the most powerful social forces in human history.” And he is right. As you can tell from the title of the article, Carey believes that joining a mob of angry voices and using the internet to fuel negativity can be very destructive— not just for the subject of the anger, but also for the writer.
Jesus said in Luke 6:43-45:

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

If all we use the internet for is negative communication, this negativity will only continue to degrade and keep our minds in the dumps. What kind of fruit can we bear if that is all that is circulating through our thoughts?

I encourage you to take a minute and think with me.

Remember the person you thought of a few minutes ago? The artistic, funny, brave person you see yourself as?

Would that person— the ideal, Spirit-led you— stay stuck in a negative cycle? Or would they use the power of the internet for good?

I hope you will use it for good.

And if you think you can’t, don’t deceive yourself! You can change your mindset. You can change the way you view media, which will change the way you use it. If you see it as a place to argue or let off steam— right now, let yourself begin to see it as a place to post encouragement or connect with others. And when you find yourself itching to argue or post a rant, force yourself to stop and think. There is a time and place for healthy debates and constructive criticism— but the internet is usually not the place, and when you are riled up is not the time. Think before you post; think through the consequences, think through your own motives, and check in with the Holy Spirit. Does it align with the fruit He wants you to bear? Carey writes in a different article, How Then Shall We Post?:

“When Paul tells Christians to ‘take captive every thought,’ he probably wasn’t thinking about someone firing off a Facebook rant in the heat of a political season, but, the message is the same: Patience is a virtue. Anger can be dangerous. Kindness should not be absent. Joy should be a disposition. Our words should create peace, not strife. Love conquers all.”

The internet is a wonderful place. The world is a wonderful place, with wonderful people. It can be full of darkness, but it can also be full of light. And with every action you take— and every word you type— you decide what you want to be full of. You get to decide what kind of fruit you will bear; what kind of person you want to be.

So, does your online presence match up with who you are?

Does it help form who you want to become?


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