In the age of information, we have immediate access to news and updates from around the world. Social media, apps, and other forms of modern media provide us with instant information at our fingertips.
While it’s true that we are the most well-informed generation in history, there’s a downside to this instant gratification. Our society has become accustomed to receiving immediate responses, whether it’s from a friend’s text message or a breaking news alert.
But when it comes to making important decisions, this obsession with instant gratification becomes problematic. Our best judgment comes from careful consideration, but that takes time.
History has shown us the consequences of making rash decisions. For example, during the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson responded instantly to North Vietnam’s attack on an American warship, putting the US directly into the Vietnam War. To this day, historians question whether the response was warranted.
Similar impulsive decisions have characterized the US’s military interventions in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan, leading some to question our government’s ability to make informed decisions for the greater good.
Recent events surrounding Russia’s actions in Ukraine show that this cult of instant judgment is still alive and well. Within a week of Russia’s invasion, the US government issued severe sanctions against Russian businessmen, offered billions in aid to Ukraine, and even considered condemnation and assassination of Putin.
Instead of exercising reasoned judgment, our government’s response seemed more concerned with appearing decisive to the press and the rest of the world.
As individuals and as a nation, it’s important for us to step back and take the time to deliberate and consider all of the relevant facts before making important decisions. The Bible advises us to be “slow to anger, slow to judge,” and that’s good advice to live by in this age of instant gratification.