I am beginning to appreciate naps more and more, especially after being a new dad. The urge to nap usually comes at odd times and places. For instance sometimes while I am watching TV or resting and browsing through the internet. However, the naps that come when browsing and reading through the internet do scare me the most because if I am not careful I might probably touch one of these ads that pops up and under and regret.
Are you familiar with these pop-ups and under-ads?
The Internet has become a place where one needs to watch out, it is indeed not a place to doze over.
I feel the accessibility of clean information that is free from distractions and ads is getting harder and more expensive as days go by. It is sad browsing through the internet nowadays is neither fun nor easy because of the countless advertisements if you try to read something an ad pops up from nowhere and completely blocks your site or a video pops up and you are left hanging, wondering what I am going to do now? Listen to this video or subscribe to this pop-up page and how I am going to exit from all these ads.
You may dislike them, even fight them hard, but at the end of the day, you simply have to live with them. That’s because there’s no question that pop-ups and pop-unders are still used heavily by companies for advertisements and to monetize their traffic or content.
Here is the screenshot of me trying to read a Bible verse from the internet.
How am I going to scroll down the content?
How on earth can one read this without touching these ads? Telemarketing and scams are serious in these games.
All I wanted was to read a Bible verse but now it is like I am walking on landmines of ads or advertisements. Oooh! And if it happens that I make a wrong move or click or touch one of these ads I’ll definitely pay a big price.
I would probably find myself on a roller coaster of being lured into buying something, getting scammed, receiving cookies or bugs and even losing control of my gadget because of just one single accidental click.
For the past 20 months, I have been volunteering as a technology instructor at the Intercultural Senior Center also known as the senior citizen center which is less than 2 miles from here.
Together with my students, we have learned to buckle up and brace ourselves as we enter the internet world that is moving extremely fast. One of the golden or general rules we constantly remind ourselves of is to be aware of the scams that come in various shapes and forms. It might be a call, a text message, an email, games, or even a simple article on the website.
To adhere to these golden rules has not been an easy task because the scammers are getting better and smarter.
Maintaining our guard in our search for information or using technology can be a daunting task in the wake of scammers, malware and relentless ads isn’t an easy job for anyone.
And that is why the governments are increasing their budgets every year spending billions of money on cybersecurity because cyber attacks are a real threat to life and are causing so much harm and loss of life.
In light of our today’s scripture, Christ calls us to be aware of false prophets, who come to us in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. It is upon you and me to be watchful all time because the enemy of our souls is ever finding ways to tear us apart.
Our predecessors, the early Methodists, had to struggle too with the spread of false teachings and doctrines that were circulating around during those days. And, in response to this John Wesley the founder of Methodism had to come up with simple rules or golden rules.
He believed that living a holy and good life required ongoing instructions, commitment to the practice of spiritual discipline, and of course a caring and loving community. And, he added a list of simple rules that were a practical application of what it meant to follow Christ and guard our hearts.
Rule number one was to do no harm, that is to decide not to harm others, and guard our thoughts, words, and actions.
Almost all of us at one point have been victims of scams and it is frustrating we can easily point fingers and blame others but the simple rule of do harm teaches us today to be slow to anger and hate as we learn together how to protect ourselves from cyberattacks, hate, and bullyings while guarding our thoughts, word, and actions in a world where with just few clicks here and there on the internet one can hurt so many people and as well transform many lives.
The second simple or golden rule was to do good. To be a bearer of good news. Doing all the good we can in all the ways we can. To love and embrace justice in our communities.
The third simple rule was to stay in Love with God – do this by spending time with God each and every day. Through prayers, meditation, reading the Bible, and fellowship.
May we be reminded today and throughout this season that in the midst of foggy misinformation and scamming, we will not give up on our hearts to serve God and love people.
We will not be quick to judge one another even in the midst of political polarization or economic crisis or even social uncertainties. Instead, we will repair the breach. We will stand in the gap and pray for healing in our land, communities, and families.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, he reminded them of the importance of wearing the breastplate of righteousness that is able to protect their heart from deceit, desire to judge, and hate because the righteousness of God was to protect them.
May you and I be challenged today that above all the circumstances and challenges we might face, we will wear breastplates of righteousness that instruct us to do no harm, do good and always stay in love with God and our neighbors.