Long before home computers and social media existed, I met a brother who told me a troubling story about data collection. He had recently been ‘written up’ by the editor of a contentious religious magazine who he had considered to be a friend. He said that he didn’t care about what had been written about him, but he was concerned for others close to him who had been considered ‘guilty by association.’
I later learned that the contentious editor would transcribe gathered information onto three-by-five-inch cards and, when it was to his advantage, would weave his notes into articles defaming the people concerned. Thus, causing anyone with any sense to give him a wide berth and to warn others about him. Did this stop him? Sadly, no. It made him worse!
In decades past a man like this could do more damage to the reputations of a good Christian than today’s Facebook, Twitter and TikTok combined. It is one thing to be trolled by Big Tech for your preferred brand of toothpaste, but quite another to have your confidential information written down and published by a supposed brother. If I was forced to choose, I’d take Big Tech.
What should be obvious to us all is that someone, somewhere is watching you. The solution is not found in hiding away, it is in making sure that what they are observing will cause them to “see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The last thing the church needs is to be paranoid about its reputation. If the world spied on, slandered, lied about, and hunted down Jesus and the best of the early Christians, why should we expect better treatment?
Though unbelievers collect data against Christians and spew it forth in vitriolic tones, their souls remain precious in God’s sight and worthy of our love and prayers.
Christian, the question is not, “Are they watching you?” it is, “What are they seeing?”