Most reading this probably have a Facebook account (if you don’t get on board – its’ the 21st century after all). I admit to multiple visits daily, checking my statuses, reading links, adding statuses and links, viewing photos, laughing and often…shaking my head (SMH in Facebook speak). Why? Because Facebook is an available tool to easily deposit all kinds of behavior with a few strokes for mass viewing.
Yes, Facebook can be a useful tool for promoting the cause for Christ. Pithy observations, winsome exhortations or just some good light-hearted fellowship can do the Christian soul good. It also can be an evangelistic tool for the non-Christian to be exposed to Christian truth in a way they might not have otherwise been. And the funny jokes and videos? Definitely keep those coming.
But sometimes Facebook behavior can too far (yes that means a rant is coming). What can be used as a great conduit actually facilitates displays of actions that may have the opposite effect of what the poster intended, and in humble opinion, wanting behavior does nothing to honor Christianity. So here are a few characters I see pop up on my home page that maybe you can identify with. Oh and if you see yourself in here, know that you are in good company. I have been guilty of a couple of these myself.
The Revealer: You needn’t wonder what is going on in this person’s life or mind. That Facebook status asks ‘what’s on your mind?’ This person will tell it, no holds bar, including other people’s business. You will have some greater insight to Psalm 139 by knowing all the details of their life.
Problem – there is something sacred about privacy. The Lord knows all of our thoughts and ways but other people don’t necessarily need to, especially given the mixed audience represented on Facebook. Moreover, telling other people’s business is akin to gossip, which now has been exponentially distributed to people who may not even know the parties in question. I think Proverbs 10:19; 11:13 and 13:3 provide some thoughts on this.
The Whiner: Call them Debbie Downer or Chicken Little. This Christian is discouraged, they are going through a rough patch or maybe just having a bad day…or a series of bad days. They are at the end of their rope and can’t take it anymore. They will not hesitate to ‘vent’ on Facebook. They may want the relief of just letting it out or maybe to garner encouragement from others.
Problem – We all get frustrated and need to vent and find that listening hear. But the Whiner should find that brother or sister with whom they have a close relationship and can vent off-line. Besides crying on cyber-shoulders can have the impact of undermining the trust needed to get through the rough spot and discourage further progress.
The Advertiser: Whether its a new relationship or some other kind of good fortune, this person will not hesitate to constantly advertise how good they have it. There might be endless streams of photos and updates, complete with countdowns to some special event (maybe seeing their love). If they have experience some miraculous healing, or landed a promotion, or come into some kind of inheritance, they must continue to share. Everyone should share in their good news.
Problem – there is certainly nothing wrong with sharing good news. Do share it! But not all the time. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says that we should rejoice when others rejoice. But it also says that we should share in the suffering of others. The Advertiser might lack sensitivity to how their constant stream of exciting news might affect the Christian who is suffering in that area. The Advertiser might want to consider the exhortation in Philippians 2:3 to esteem others as more important than ourselves.
The Water Walker Corrector: This person will not hesitate to admonish wanting Christian behavior as they have observed it. The statuses usually start something like, ‘the problem with most Christians is….’ or ‘I can’t believe what Christians on Facebook are doing’. The Corrector possibly sees their job of letting others know how they should live and how they are not living. They might often post scripture that addresses such behavior.
Problem – the Corrector might have an elevated view of their own spirituality, which in actuality, might just be bankrupt. If there is behavior that is being displayed it should compel an internal examination first. Galatians 6:1 indicates that correction should come from the spiritual person who can assist in restoration in a gentle manner. I doubt the mass blast on Facebook accomplishes that. Ok, somewhere I see a finger pointing at me. But if you’ve witnessed this, you know what I’m saying. And this is not Facebook 😛
The Dogmatic Defender: don’t dare make attempts to try to correct this person’s bad theology statements that don’t make sense and don’t really edify. They are there to teach and to minister and are certain that their update or pithy statement or scriptural observation is edifying and ministering to their ‘friends’. YOU are the cause of disruption of others being enriched by by attempting to address holes in their premise.
Problem – similar to the Corrector, the DD might have an elevated view of not only their own spirituality, but their interpretation of scripture. They are right and everyone else is wrong. But to the DD I say, listen to what others might have to say. A little humility can go a long way. There is nothing edifying about arrogance.
Ok so that’s my vent for the day. The bottom line is that we should all, including myself, think about what we are posting before we post it. A few second delay won’t hurt and maybe can help.