Missing the forest for the twigs

A Roman Catholic priest stirred up anger on Twitter recently when he advised parents to stop their children from using Snapchat. He was accused of everything from breaking confidentiality in confessions (which is absurd) to being an ignorant prude.

As a Protestant with two sons and a truckload of nieces, nephews, great nephews and great nieces, I say this: If you dismiss this wise, godly counsel out of hand you are a fool. It is common knowledge that Snapchat is used by teens to send nude pictures back and forth, and one of the reasons it is popular is that the pictures “self destruct.” Of course, people can take screenshots and those screenshots can be widely distributed.

You do not have to agree with Pastor Beeman’s conclusion to see the wisdom in his warning about the dangers of Snapchat, and why that warning applies to all social media services, texting, electronic mail, instant messenger programs, web browsing, video games and everything else we do that connects to the internet. The potential for sexual sin is enormous.

Come on people, can we please be adults here? Do we really need to debate the smallest details of the Snapchat platform to see this wisdom? We should not get bogged down in examining the grains in the bark of the twigs, while we miss the entire tree — to say nothing about the forest. Discernment is a fruit of the Spirit, and far too many Christians are determined to kill it in themselves and shame it in others. We are tossing our children’s souls into the fires of sin and death when we refuse to acknowledge real spiritual dangers.

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