|The author of Hebrews sounds like a track and field coach explaining the need for proper attire and the danger of unnecessary resistance as he writes, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1). The Christian life is not a sprint—it’s a marathon. Who dresses in long jeans and bulky leather shoes for a marathon?
Not only is it essential to dress appropriately for a marathon or even a short race on the track, it’s imperative that Christians are properly clothed for the Christian life. Unnecessary baggage that clutters life can hinder us, harm our relationships, and create distance between Christian friendships in the local church. Much more severe than unnecessary baggage is the “respectable sin” that is often ignored because—after all, it’s not murder, child abuse, or embezzlement. Jerry Bridges, in his excellent book Respectable Sins, writes:
Those of us whom I call conservative evangelicals may have become so preoccupied with some of the major sins of society around us that we have lost sight of the need to deal with our own refined or subtle sins. 
What sin are you overlooking in your life that could be holding you back from a God glorifying pursuit of holiness? That one sin has become your achilles heel. Not only does it dishonor God, but it hinders you from shining for God, from serving God, and from pursuing holiness. Below are many respectable sins that often fly under the radar, but they should not be overlooked or ignored. Their poison is deadly too.
Respectable Sins of our Evangelical Culture
There are many different examples of respectable sins that we often overlook because they aren’t on the same level as open adultery or murder—but they’re just as deadly. Interestingly enough, the small venomous snake is often more deadly because they inject their venom without any restraint when they bite their prey. Larger snakes hold back some venom for additional strikes depending on the size of the prey. This makes the young snake more dangerous. When it comes to respectable sins, they can often be more deadly because they’re often overlooked for years.
Think about how many years you have considered eating better or getting more focused on a workout schedule. Those dreams never turn into reality. How many years have you continued to allow certain sins to remain comfortable in your heart and life while cautioning yourself, your family, and your church family against the “big evil sins” like homosexuality, murder, and adultery?
Beware of the respectable sins because they’re extremely dangerous and not very respectable at all. If you’re walking in the forest and you come upon a small venomous snake—remember the small snakes are dangerous too. If you ignore a small venomous snake—it could cost you your life. When it comes to the Christian life—don’t overlook the small sins. They’re full of venom and they can hinder you from running the race of life for the glory of God.
From Excessive social media use leads to depression
Saturday, December 08, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Particularly with so-called “social” media, which includes popular websites such as Facebook and Twitter, the erosion of true friendships and their replacement with shallow and oftentimes meaningless online connections is having a devastating impact on society, as the human need for real connection is becoming increasingly harder to find. In the absence of genuine relationships and love, having multiple media sources active and engaged at all times is the only way that some people can cope, but it can also lead to mental illness.
“If you are predisposed to anxiety it seems that the pressures from technology act as a tipping point, making people feel more insecure and more overwhelmed,” said Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, in response to a similar study conducted earlier this year with regards to social media and how most social media users believe sites like Facebook and Twitter have made their lives worse.
Adding to this sentiment, Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, author of the earlier study, noted that people who are anxious and socially insecure, typically use sites like Facebook more than others because they “find it easier to communicate via social media (rather) than face-to-face.””
Aside from negatively impacting the concentration of teenagers, “heavy smartphone use” is linked to “an increased rate of social isolation, depression, suicidal thoughts, and even suicide.”
A decade after Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, launched the first iPhone, 92 percent of teenagers own a smartphone. A double-edged sword, smartphones revolutionized communication but they also increased “the risk of social isolation.”
Smartphones have also made it easier to cyberbully individuals. A lot of teenagers have been miserable because of cyberbullying, and it has even driven some teens to commit suicide. (Related: Excessive social media use leads to depression.)
From 2010 to 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that the rate of suicide and severe depression went up by more than 30 percent among teens aged 13 to 18. About 60 percent of the increase was among teenage girls.
Because the internet gives teens access to all sorts of social media apps, they aren’t talking to each other as much. They’re chatting, they send messages, and they like photos and videos but everyone is texting instead of talking in person.
Based on a recent study by Florida State University, there is a significant link between suicidal tendencies and smartphone usage. Researchers determined that those who were on their devices for over five hours daily had at least a “50 percent incidence of at least one suicidal behavior.” The study’s authors note that teenagers who owned smartphones and were on social media had a higher risk of reporting “mental health issues.”
Meanwhile, the researchers share that teens who spend less time on their devices and participate in physical activities or read books had a smaller chance of developing mental health problems.
In a separate report from Common Sense , it was revealed that the majority of younger children spend their formative years on their phones instead of with their parents. About 42 percent of children aged eight or younger own a tablet, marking a great spike from one percent back in 2011.
In France, phones are about to be completely banned in lower and middle schools. U.S. schools should be considering this move as well. Schools could also offer electronic devices that are restricted to “school-related or independent academic work” to discourage smartphone overuse.
Another approach to consider is the introduction of cyber etiquette so adolescents can learn how to use their devices and the internet responsibly. It can teach children how to manage their time spent online, how to deal with cyberbullying, and how to integrate “empathetic face-to-face ‘human’ skills” to the online world. It can also emphasize the “importance of offline relationships.”
No matter how hard we try, we can’t totally eliminate smartphones from our lives. However, we can take the necessary measures to educate our children on how to use their devices wisely. Before we go and give them their own smartphones, we just need to make sure that they have a firm grasp of basic communication skills.
Teach teens to manage their cellphone usage
To curb potential smartphone overuse, teach your teenagers how to use their devices properly using the tips below:
- Teenagers are stuck in the middle ground between childhood and adulthood so you need to carefully monitor their smartphone usage. As a parent or guardian, you must discuss cyber etiquette so they know the rules and the consequences of abusing this privilege.
- Decide on their phone usage hours. Can they use their phones the whole day? Should it be turned off by their bedtime? Limiting their “phone time” gives your children time away from social media so they can enjoy other activities.
- Always open the lines of communication with your children. They need to know that they can trust you with their problems, especially if they are being bullied or harassed online.
- Ask about school rules for smartphones. Not all schools will allow students to have their phones with them during class hours. Review the rules so your kids know what they can and can’t do with their phones.
You can read more articles about how to use technology wisely at FutureScienceNews.com.