I just watched the new video/song from 90’s band Disturbed. They’re not a Christian band or even a religious one but they are spiritual. The lead singer David Draiman grew up an Orthodox Jew but pushed back against its strict methodology.
The new song is called Hey You and is meant as a “wake up” song to a younger generation. The video, which is sadly not available for embedding, has a very Matrix/sci-fi feel to it has two younger people pitted against one another in a brutal battle.
The video begins with a guard releasing a “prisoner” from one of the many hibernation tanks and brought to an arena where the tattooed antagonist sits upon a throne.
Before going to battle, these young people are forced to wear these post-apocalyptic, Metaverse goggles which feeds their rage for one another.
You can put whatever media labels you want on these media goggles but my mind goes to CNN vs Fox but it could easily be Jordan Peterson vs Ta Nehisi Coates.
After a few swings and kicks between the combatants, the camera shows our biker baddie being juiced up by their battle. The BBEG gets his energy from everyone’s fighting and toxic language.
The message is clear, all our fighting does, online, empowers the media tyrants who only get richer and richer from our anger and vitriol. It is not until the media helmets are ripped off the raging media gladiators (trolls?) that they come to their senses and in turn rip off the helmets of their guard oppressors.
Once they know what was fueling their rage, they release the other captives and drag the power hungry media meanie away.
Teenagers are more vulnerable than adults when it comes to media and its messages. This video got me thinking about how I would use this video in lesson about social media. I’ve written it all out below, but if you want the pdf, you can subscribe to my newsletter. I have added a bonus small group study with another game and small group questions.
Play a one on one game such as The Tortilla Slap Challenge or a one on one battle of nerf guns. Whatever the students are battling with, be sure to write the name of the two media giants on them or make signs to put on their chests. Choose different kids for the various battles. Here are some potential matchups
Tik Tok vs Youtube
Snapchat vs Instagram
Hulu vs Netflix
What’s App vs GroupMe
After the battles are over, say: There is a battle going on everyday for your attention and you need to know what to pay attention to and what to ignore in order keep your faith strong. I want to show you a video from a band called Disturbed and you tell me what the message is.
Show The Video
Approaching media with a full heart
They say you should never go shopping on an empty stomach, why? Because you’ll grab up everything your appetite wants and wind up spending too much. The same is true of media, if you approach it on an empty soul, you’ll consume everything. You have to approach social media with a full heart, knowing who you are in Christ and with discernment.
If you approach social media with an empty soul, you will seek something to fill your need now.
You may be hungry to connect but you may connect with the wrong people. You may be hungry to be accepted and what you may do, online, to be accepted, may not be healthy. You may be hungry to entertain yourself but the entertainment you consume leaves you feeling bloated and sick like eating too much cake.
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)
When you are filled with the Spirit and armed with the Word of God, you will not consume everything you see because you will be filled with the truth of God’s word and with the Holy Spirit who remind you of what you need and do not need.
Knowing who you are in Christ
“Who do men say that I am?” Jesus asked Peter. He wasn’t asking because He didn’t know. He wasn’t looking for new identities to try on. He wasn’t looking to adapt to popular opinion. Jesus knew who he was, he was asking Peter to give Peter a chance to be used by the Spirit.
If you approach media without a clear identity, which most of you do not have, yet, media will shape and form you, without you knowing it. The Bible refers to us as clay,
And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:8
We are still being shaped and formed but we must decide who the potter will be, media and culture or God and his Word.
Discerning the messages
Think about all the media you see everyday. Think about the speed at which you go through it, scroll through it and consume it.
“Your brain can process certain types of information within as little as 13 milliseconds. This means that your brain can identify what it’s looking at approximately 30 times faster than you can blink your eye!”
Your brain is pretty fast but according to the Salk Institute,
The human brain sometimes takes cognitive shortcuts to help make decisions, shortcuts that can lead to implicit or unconscious bias. The human brain can process 11 million bits of information every second. But our conscious minds can handle only 40 to 50 bits of information a seconds.
The question becomes, “Who do we trust?”. Do we trust ourselves and our minds to discern the differences between good and bad based on our own moral code “that’s not so bad” or “that’s not as bad as…” or do we trust the Holy Spirit who warns us or reminds us when we encounter something that is dangerous to our spiritual well being.
This goes back to scrolling with a full heart. If you are full of scripture, the Holy Spirit can remind you of what His word says about the content you’re watching, the time you spend watching it and your need to build better viewing habits.
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21
The word discern, in Arabic, means: become separated, be distinct,
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Both the Spirt and the Word work together to help us discern (separate) good from evil; what is worthy of our time and what is a waste, and gives us an opportunity to make right decisions.
We can spend our time watching, scrolling without discernment or we can let the God’s Word and the Holy Spirit guide us. Let’s pray for better discernment.
Close in Prayer