Let’s take a picture and put it on Facebook! I’m deleting my Facebook account. I’m grateful for Facebook. I hate Facebook.
That’s my almost everyday thought pattern. Facebook is a neutral thing that I can turn good or bad.
Do you ever wonder what was the big love/hate issue was 500 or 1,000 years ago? I bet in 1455, when Gutenberg rolled out the printing press, people were struggling with this issue. Think of the love/hate relationship that might have arisen in 1250, when the first gun was created.
Regardless of the century, there have always been inventions that provide benefits when used properly and grief when abused.
Sadly, it’s not hard for this thing to happen in any of our lives if we aren’t constantly alert. That pull on our time and thoughts is strong.
How can we as Christians avoid being sucked into the Facebook whirlpool?
First, we need to identify the problems.
For many, Facebook has become an addiction. Addiction to attention, addiction to information, addiction to controversy, addiction to the escape from responsibility.
Here’s a Facebook addiction test:
When you post a picture or status update, how long do you wait before checking to see who and how many have liked it or commented?
Are you upset or offended when a certain person doesn’t acknowledge it?
This problem is called codependency. Codependency is excessive reliance on others or the encouragement for them to rely on us, so as to receive emotional satisfaction and security.
If you are a Christ-follower, you already have God’s complete acceptance and seeking others’ approval is NOT needed!
“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant” (Colossians 1:22-23).
We need not depend on man but God alone, He (and only Him!) is always with us and completely faithful. A friend can be there one day and fail us the next (Psalm 55:12-14).
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9).
But, let’s go a little deeper and flesh out an even more difficult issue.
I call this the “Intellectual Facebook Fallacy.” The elements of codependency and addiction can still be there, but it’s more an issue of pride.
For example, Jane Smith posts a view that is clearly incorrect and people are actually agreeing with him.
Do you feel this uncontrollable urge to fix her bad theology? Do you write a 500-word reply and sit anxiously on the edge of your seat waiting for the food to fly?
Is Facebook really the place to spend our time and energy trying to fix bad theology in people we don’t even know?
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him” (Proverbs 26:4).
This is hard for those of us that love truth. It’s not just theology that we want to correct. It’s any topic we have a passion for. Breastfeeding, homeschooling, budgeting, family size…we could spend all day debating others. I call this problem “Intellectual Facebook Fallacy” because often we justify our efforts by saying we are obligated to share the truth. True, but what are the boundaries?
Two solutions or responses to this issue:
1. Are you first evangelizing or serving your in-real-life neighbors?
We all know that person who is 180 degrees different online than they are in person. In a real-life situation we can assess someone’s spiritual state and serve them where needed. Online situations completely leave out the spiritual state. Why waste your time debating paedo vs credo baptism with someone who is very likely an unbeliever? Know the needs of your church and neighbors and be there for them.
“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1Peter 4:8-10).
Pray for boldness to share Jesus with that goth-like girl standing next to you in line. Opportunities like that are more meaningful that a quick reply online.
2. Have you prayerfully considered if your efforts are selfless? Are you arguing for the sake of winning or proving yourself to be an authority?
“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich an boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
God may have given you a gift for teaching. I encourage you to explore ways within your church that you can use that gift, or perhaps biblical counseling is a path you should pursue. Above all, as Christians, we are to guard our time and minds. No matter if it’s Facebook, Instagram, forums or media we are to hold ourselves to a higher standard. One above reproach.
“Look carefully then to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
The printing press, guns and Facebook can all easily be used for good and bad. Before deleting your account, posting that photo or responding to a status update, pray about your purpose there. The challenge for believers is honoring God with our time, thoughts, and words.
Take a moment to evaluate your time spent on Facebook or any social network. Ask God to help you prioritize and clean up your day.