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The Digital Invasion (Part 2) - The Need for Human Connection, The Narcissism Epidemic


V. The need for human connection.
1. This new digital world with its social networking, emails, and texts boasts itself a utopia for human connection.
A. We can now connect with long-lost relatives, friends, co-workers, and classmates from around the country or world.
B. People now have hundreds of "friends" on Facebook or LinkedIn.
C. But has all this digital connection actually improved our relationships and our fullness as individuals?
2. The scripture emphasizes the importance of face-to-face interaction.
A. When the apostle John could have continued his letter to the elect lady and written many more things which he had to say, he decided to wait and speak them face to face (2Jo 1:12).
i. His reason for doing so? That our joy may be full (2Jo 1:12).
ii. John likewise had many more things to say to Gaius, but rather waited in order to tell him face to face (3Jo 1:13-14).
iii. Though far more personal than email, texts, or Facebook, even hand-written letters are no substitute for face-to-face communication.
B. Jesus' disciples had sorrow when they were told they would not see Him anymore (Joh 16:17,22), but when they would see him again, their hearts would rejoice (Joh 16:22).
C. While writing Timothy a letter, Paul told him that he greatly desired to see him (2Ti 1:4). Why? - so that he might be filled with joy.
D. Paul, writing to the Romans, said he longed to see them (Rom 1:11). Why? - so that he could be comforted together with them (Rom 1:12).
E. Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus greatly desired to see the faces of the Thessalonians (1Th 2:17).
i. They likewise greatly desired to see them (1Th 3:6).
ii. Paul prayed night and day that he would see their face (1Th 3:10).
iii. Why not just write a letter?
F. The elders at Ephesus wept sore and sorrowed that they would see his face no more (Act 20:37-38).
G. We all long to be with Jesus and see His face (1Jo 3:2; Rev 22:3-4).
3. It's especially important for church members to see each other as often as possible.
A. It was said of those in the OT who feared the LORD that they spake often one to another (Mal 3:16).
B. They didn't write, email, text, or Facebook each other often, but they spake often which in those days meant face-to-face communication.
C. This is why it's important for all church members, both resident and non-resident, to be in attendance as often as they can.
D. Christians are to be our companions (Psa 119:63).
i. Companion n. - 1. a. One who associates with or accompanies another; a mate; a fellow.
ii. Associate v. - 1. trans. To join (persons, or one person with (to arch.) another), in (to obs.) common purpose, action, or condition; to link together, unite, combine, ally, confederate.
iii. Accompany v. - 1. To accompany (a person or thing) to (another): to add as companion; to associate; to add or conjoin to.
iv. When one is a companion with another they are joined together.
4. Consider the following observations from The Digital Invasion regarding the drawbacks and dangers of digital connections:
A. "Digital contacts can never compensate for real face-to-face human contact with those you love. The concern is this detachment's impact on how parents attach to children and in turn affect the attachment style they will develop. We are designed for real-life attachments where we are seen, valued, and heard. It is in our closest relationships that we experience this. If our brain system becomes more attached to digital gadgets and detached from people, our relational skills will atrophy. We are already seeing evidence of this." (Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Digital Invasion, page 70)
B. "Research shows that human connection is one of the keys to happiness. Connections are what make us human and are the core of how we express our humanity." (Ibid, page 92)
C. "Unfortunately, the digital social media that now dominates our lives tends to foster more self-centeredness than deeper connections." (Ibid, page 93)
D. "A good rule of thumb for yourself, and to teach to your children, is to use the digital world to relay necessary information, but communicate deeper thoughts and emotions in direct face-to-face encounters. This is essential in today's digital world for laying the foundation of healthy connections and relationships." (Ibid, pages 96-97)
E. "Media has put us close to the people who are far away but has separated us from the ones who are nearby." (Ibid, page 162)
F. "As one expert puts it: "Tech savvy our children are; life savvy they are not."7 Children who socialize mainly via social media do not grasp the finer points of social interaction; they need human contact, coaching, and modeling." (Ibid, page 174)
G. "Current research also reveals that digital natives who spend most of their time in a virtual world will more likely be lonely." (Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Digital Invasion, page 99)
5. Tips for overcoming loneliness and making real connections and friendships.
A. If you want a friend, be friendly (Pro 18:24).
B. Frequent the same places at the same times. This will help you to see the same people regularly which will help to naturally establish connections.
C. Visit other people who are lonely, like the elderly.
D. Join a Meetup group and attend regularly.
E. Try to at least say "hi" to people in your proximity.
F. Look up. Stop looking at your phone in public. You might just be missing opportunities to have real conversations.

VI. The narcissism epidemic
1. Social networking breeds narcissism.
2. Narcissism - Self-love and admiration that find emotional satisfaction in self-contemplation
3. The following is a quote from The Digital Invasion regarding the link between social networking and narcissism:
A. "This journalist's experience also highlights one of the major drawbacks of our overuse of social media, namely, that it fosters the growth of narcissism, which is now seen as epidemic in our young people....Narcissists are preoccupied with themselves and are obsessed with what others think of them. They also believe that they are entitled to the attention of everyone else....Narcissists are not particularly interested in, or good at offering, warmth and caring in their social interactions. They can enjoy being around people and can be most charming, flattering, and likable. But it is all for their own benefit." (Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Digital Invasion, page 93)
B. One can easily see how Facebook is a narcissist's dream.
i. They get to be a star, at least in their own eyes.
ii. They post all the best pictures of themselves.
iii. They post updates about their every move, as if people actually care what they are doing.
iv. They get to promote a false image of themselves which is much more interesting than the real person.
C. I have observed narcissistic tendencies in young children as well as adults.
D. It doesn't help when parents are always telling their children how pretty, smart, or talented they are.
4. Narcissism is just a modern word for pride.
A. Pride n. - The quality of being proud. I. 1. a. A high or overweening opinion of one's own qualities, attainments, or estate, which gives rise to a feeling and attitude of superiority over and contempt for others; inordinate self-esteem.
B. Proud adj. - I. 1. a. Having or cherishing a high or lofty opinion of oneself; valuing oneself highly on account of one's position, rank, attainments, possessions, etc.; Usually in a bad sense: Disposed to take an attitude of superiority to and contempt for others; arrogant, haughty, overweening, supercilious.
5. Pride is a sin.
A. Pride was the first sin committed, even before Adam sinned (1Ti 3:6 c/w Isa 14:12-14 c/w Eze 28:17).
B. Pride is sin (Mar 7:22; 2Ti 3:2; Rom 1:30; Eze 16:49).
C. God hates pride (Pro 8:13; Pro 16:5).
D. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jam 4:6).
E. Humble adj. - 1. Having a low estimate of one's importance, worthiness, or merits; marked by the absence of self-assertion or self-exaltation; lowly: the opposite of proud.
F. Humility, not pride, is the key to success (Jam 4:10; Pro 18:12; Pro 22:4).
i. Humble v. - 1. trans. To render humble or meek in spirit; to cause to think more lowly of oneself.
ii. Humility - 1. The quality of being humble or having a lowly opinion of oneself; meekness, lowliness, humbleness: the opposite of pride or haughtiness.
iii. Even huge tech companies like Google recognize this.
iv. World Net Daily interviewed Google Senior Vice President of Operations Laszlo Bock and found the following:
a. "Bock cites a common error in “successful” people without intellectual humility: “They, instead, commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, it’s because I’m a genius. If something bad happens, it’s because someone’s an idiot or I didn’t get the resources or the market moved. … What we’ve seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position. They’ll argue like hell. They’ll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, ‘here’s a new fact,’ and they’ll go, ‘Oh, well, that changes things; you’re right.’”" (Bob Unruh, Google: GPAs, Test Scores 'Worthless', World Net Daily)
b. "“Without humility, you are unable to learn,” he said." (Ibid)
6. What one talks about tells you much about him.
A. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Luk 6:45).
B. Your heart is where your treasure is (Mat 6:21).
C. As he thinketh in his heart so is he (Pro 23:7).
D. If one is posting voluminously about himself on Facebook, including about how wonderful his family is, how great his job is, how nice of things he has, the great vacation he went on, and how interesting of a person he is; what does that tell you about what he thinks about the most? The answer?: himself.
E. It's a fool who is only interested in himself (Pro 18:2).
7. It is very easy to fall into pride.
A. Even things that seem innocent might not be if they are done for the wrong reason.
B. This could be making posts about your kids, your job promotions, pictures of yourself, your house, car, etc.
8. The need for introspection.
A. Before you post anything on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., ask yourself why you are posting it.
i. If you are posting it to make yourself look good or to impress others, don't post it.
ii. To search our own glory is not good (Pro 25:27).
a. "to set forth their own excellencies, to sound forth their own praises to seek honour of men, to use all methods to gain popular applause; this is not glorious and praiseworthy, but dishonourable." (John Gill, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)
b. "...for men to search their own glory, to court applause and covet to make themselves popular, is not their glory, but their shame; every one will laugh at them for it; and the glory which is so courted is not glory when it is got, for it is really no true honour to a man." (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible)
iii. Remember to "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." (Pro 27:2).
a. What if others don't praise me? Then thank God.
b. "We must also put away all notion of self-importance. God will not bless the man who thinks himself great. To glory even in the work of God the Holy Spirit in yourself, is to tread dangerously near to self-adulation. "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth," and be very glad when that other has sense enough to hold his tongue." (Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 223-224)
iv. Any wicked man can proclaim his own goodness and most wicked men do, but we should not be so (Pro 20:6).
v. He that is wise in his own conceit is a fool (Pro 26:12).
B. This goes not just for social networking sites, but for life in general.
i. It's not he that commends himself which is approved, but he whom God commends (2Co 10:18).
ii. Nobody likes to hear someone else boast about themselves.
a. Relaying facts about yourself is not necessarily boasting; it just depends on your motives for sharing the information.
b. If you tell someone something about yourself, such as what your profession is, how much money you make (not wise), possessions you own or owned, places you've been, jobs you've had, accomplishments you or your kids have made, etc., just make sure that in your heart you are sharing the information for godly purposes such as edifying others or building a relationship by sharing personal information.
c. Be careful to not allow pride to rear its ugly head and gloat about yourself by sharing information about yourself which "randomly came up" in the conversation; aka - you intentionally dropped hints or feelers to illicit questions which you are all too eager to answer.

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