A couple of weeks ago, I had quite the scare. My heart was literally in my stomach as I took a moment to digest what had just taken place. For several days afterward the aftertaste of that mental assault lingered with me. To be honest, I’m still reeling and still recovering. Without even realizing what I had done, I compromised very personal information about myself and my family. Completely unaware, I had allowed a stranger to enter my inner chambers and get a full access pass into my life, no holds barred.
How did this happen? I “befriended” someone on a social networking site. The person had the same last name as many of my relatives and even had a cousin listed as one of her “friends”. Someone close to me had the good sense to do some investigative work. To make a long story short, none of us have any idea who this person is. Yet, she infiltrated the system and by permission was given the opportunity to do massive damage. I have since blocked this person from gaining access to me and it remains to be seen how much damage, if any will be done. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, God is showing me some valuable lessons to be learned from this whole thing. Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far…
It’s old news and by now everyone is hip to the current privacy protocol that goes with social networking. Nobody needs to be reminded how easy it is to get hacked, have their identity stolen, and become the latest casualty of the internet wars. Yet I think some of us are still a bit slow on the take. I went back to my info page and was astounded by how much of “me” is available for anyone to see. As one blogger put it, If some random person called you on the phone and asked you the names of your mother, father, brother, sister, where you go to work, what your religious and political beliefs are, the names of your kids and how old they are, etc, etc, etc- you would tell that random person to take a flying leap and promptly have your number blocked. It’s none of their business. Yet because it’s facebook or myspace, or any other “safe” social internet venue, we think we’re actually safe. The truth is that we’re all subject to hackers and phonies, and people who are trying to invade our lives and take what does not belong to them. I think I get it now. If you really want to know something about me, just ask. I’ll either tell you the answer or tell you to take a flying leap. No offense.
As far as I know, Jesus didn’t have a social networking site that he frequented when he walked around healing people and casting out devils. For one thing, he didn’t have time. He was constantly on the go. His life was one continuous adventure and he was literally surrounded by people who were chronicling his every move. Yet, despite the gaping hole of the missing 21st century, it looks like he had a pretty good grasp of the situation.
Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces.
This message can be applied to every aspect of our lives. When sharing our faith, it’s a call to choose our audience carefully and refuse to argue with those who have opposing views. Those who choose to reject Christ have that right and talking about things they aren’t going to accept or understand is pointless. Let it go and let your light shine in places where it will be received, with doors and hearts wide open.
Social networking can be a great place to make connections and get reacquainted with old friends. Just be cautious about how much personal information you divulge. We live in an evil world and there are snakes and vipers around every corner looking for a free ride. Treat the internet as you would a public restroom. Go in there to do your business but shut the door and keep it clean. Not everyone wants to see everything you have and those that do will most likely use it against you. In the worst case, they could cause devastating damage that cannot be recovered overnight.
Like Christianity, social networking can be loads of fun. You get to stay connected to friends and loved ones through common interests and bonds. When things are lousy, you get instant encouragement from people that are close to you. You get to tell the story of your life to an audience who is not only listening, but telling theirs as well. However, at the end of the day when all is said and done, nothing is more important than knowing that you and your family are safe. Have fun, but be smart about it too.
Ah, so very true! Some great 'pearls of wisdom' here. So sad to think of how one thing meant for a good purpose (or a neutral one) can be used to tear people apart from the inside out. Great thoughts! We need to hear this and think about it more than just in passing. ^_^
Sherry, your "warning" is skillfully and expertly written. I'm so sorry about your recent experience and will think twice about all the information I have listed. Thank you for writing this and sharing your heart.