Saturday, November 3, 2012

Privacy: How much?

What causes privacy?  Is it the theft committed using personal information?  Is it advertising agencies constantly sending information in the mail or filling ad space on the internet that might pertain to you?  Is it people that you know, learning about an experience of yours and sharing it with others?  I think, generally, it’s the fear of what others might do with the information that they have about you.

I had an experience with privacy earlier this summer.  A few of my friends had a Google plus account so they could video call each other and they told me to get one too.  I got onto the site and began to fill out the steps.  I finished everything and was ready for the screen to show that would typically say, “The confirmation for your password has been sent to your email.”  However, this time it was different.  This time it asked for my phone number so that they could call or text me the confirmation.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a Google plus account that day.  Unfortunately, I had to cave and give up my number when joining this blog, but I kept the number which sent me the confirmation in my phone just in case. 

Why did I do all of this?  I don’t really know.  If Google now has my phone number, then everybody in the world has it and I think that is what worried me.  I didn’t want to be known by the world.  I didn’t want to be contacted by everybody who is out there.  I didn’t want everyone to be able to access me and who I am.  Is this reaction rational? 

How are we to look at privacy as Christians?  After I realized the actual fear behind my reluctance to release my information, I realized how contradictory it is to how we are to live as Christians.  I was worried that people might know who I was or that they might be able to contact me.  Although the probability of that happening is low, it is the fact that I was thinking these things that makes me wonder if we take privacy too far.

The Bible addresses privacy in a few different ways.  First, there is the side of humility and acting or giving for the Lord in secret so that it is solely for the Lord and not done so that others may see to receive self-glorification.  This aspect is done out of humility and worship for the Lord, not loving and desiring praise for one’s self before God.  The other side is complete transparency for the glory of God.  It demands confession and exposure so that the work of God in one’s life may be a witness to others.  John chapter three, verses 20-21 says, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

I think it’s important to understand our intentions and our actual fears when we are addressing our own privacy.  Our pursuit should be to love the Lord.  Everything will flow after that.  It might be easy to dismiss decisions as unimportant, but everything can be used to glorify God.  Whether we’re acting out of humility so that He receives the glory, or whether we are exposing everything so that it may be seen what He has done, all that matters is that He is the one that receives the praise.

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