What You Need to Know About the Internet

Every Click, Swipe and Pinch

Clicking, then, is a gift from God in that it serves as a way of objectifying the smallest movements of our minds and hearts. Every click is a small, but significant, external registry of the tiniest movements of our inner selves. Which means there is no such thing as a neutral click, swipe or pinch. You’re choosing righteousness or unrighteous one touch at a time, both for your own soul and for our world.

And it’s not just about surfing to new URLs. Everything that can be tracked online is increasingly being tracked, like what apps you open, and for how long and where you click around in them. It matters not just who you follow, but whose profile you linger over, scroll through and click to enlarge. Not only what thumbnails load onto your screen, but whose headshot you touch to get a better view.

And of course, there’s who you “like” and “follow”—who your account votes to help make influential, or keep famous. Who you let whisper into your ear with regular updates.

Learn to Bounce

Negatively, the implications are plain enough. Every unrighteous click expresses and encourages sin. Every sordid click casts your vote for more sordidness online.

An important lesson to learn online as Christians is that one bad click is no excuse for another. Whether you sinned in clicking somewhere you knew you shouldn’t, or clicked on a righteous headline only to find a page with an unrighteous ad, learn to “bounce.” Look to the top or bottom left of your browser and cultivate the reflex of clicking there when you discover you’ve made a poor click.

That’s another thing websites track: the bounce rate. Think of it as a small way to partially act against a bad vote you’ve already cast and can’t fully undo. Don’t linger. And don’t take it as an excuse to pause there in sin, or click further in. Yes, it would have been better not to navigate to the site, but it’s worse to click through to the second page at a bad site. Bounce.

Every Click Is an Opportunity

We should beware the dangers, and learn not to surf passively, but don’t hear me saying I’m down on the Internet. I work for a web ministry. The existence of the Internet is part of what puts food on the table for my family. We should not only mind the dangers, but also open our eyes to the remarkable opportunities.

Every righteous click has some small righteous effect in our world. When you make a good click, you register a vote for righteousness. And what content you “share” will be seen by others who otherwise may not have seen it. What you “like,” and comment on, contributes to algorithms that serve up quality content to others, even people you do not know. Clicking alone will not complete the Great Commission, but it’s not irrelevant. You make the world a better or worse place with every click.

Who Are You Becoming?

Every righteous click also has a righteous effect on your soul. It’s not only an expression of who you are, but represents who you are becoming.

Every moment of every day, in every thought and feeling and word and deed, we are becoming who we will be. How you click always matters. Where you click is never removed from who you are and what you’re becoming. Every click makes you something new.

Every moment in life, and every moment online, is not only a peril, but an opportunity. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). With God’s help, will you click from one degree of glory to another?

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David Mathis
David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.