Monday, August 2, 2010
A New Venue for Christ: Social Networking and Your Words
Ladies, if you are reading this blog, you have more than likely joined the ever growing population of Facebookers. This relatively "newer" area of social networking has far reaching effects. When we post a new status update, share a picture or comment in a thread, it is read by far more people than phone calls or face to face conversations ever affected. Within seconds, people can learn about your day, your mood, your prayer requests, your needs, your questions, or your schedule.
With this new source of information and entertainment come responsibilities. Being Christian women, our Facebook posts should look different from those of our non-Christian friends. I have seen many uses for Facebook, and I want to explore some of the worldly and godly behaviors that result. I pray this discussion will help all of us to think twice about what we portray, share and tell.
I Timothy 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain."
First of all, many people can use Facebook to gripe or complain. I am guilty of this. If one of my kids comes down with something or I have a flat tire, I want to vent on Facebook. I want everyone to know how truly horrible my day has been. I believe that we can be real and share requests of challenges we are facing, but we have to check our motives and the attitude we are portraying. If we are sharing practical needs, asking for prayer and seeking God's will in a situation, we should share away! It is when we have a negative, discontent and frustrated tone that our post has wandered into sinful territory.
This especially applies to what we share about our husbands. If we are unhappy that our husband is late from work, don't write on your husband's wall, "Where are you?????? Dinner is ready." You have effectively disrespected your husband in front of hundreds of people. If you are telling a story in which your husband did something silly or stupid, don't post it! No spouse want his wife to belittle him in front of others. An example of this could be as simple as posting a picture of your lobster red son and the caption, "Johnny has quite the sunburn! Jeff forgot to pack the sunscreen on our trip to the beach. Ouch!" This sounds silly, but, for the sake of a laugh or chuckle, you have thrown your husband under the bus. This is not godly, respectful or loving behavior.
Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."
Besides griping and negativity, Facebook can produce feelings of jealousy and bitterness. It sounds extreme, but, ladies, how many of you have seen a post about a girls' night out you weren't asked to attend or have seen pictures of a shower or party to which you were not invited and have felt sinful, selfish thoughts about how you have been treated? I know there was a particular day that I was sinning in my attitude against my husband. Of coure, satan jumped on that and all my friends seemed to post about how their husbands had bought coffee for them or let them sleep in. Pictures of flowers "just because" popped up everywhere, and before I knew it, my bitterness and jealousy were in full bloom--fed by my sinful thoughts upon reading Facebook posts. On the flip side of the same coin, do not use Facebook as a popularity contest. Don't compare numbers of friends, post about every social outing you attend to make people see how "popular" and socially in demand you have become. If you think a particular social event was limited and small, you might want to just thoughtfully mention you had a good night out with friends. Name dropping and mentioning events so you puff yourself up in your own eyes is never becoming for a daughter of Christ.
Psalm 12:3 "May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue."
II Corinthians 10:17 "But, 'Let him who boasts boast in the LORD.'"
This is a great transition to discussing how we can sin through bragging on Facebook. We should share in great things God is doing in our lives and rejoice with our kids or hubbies when they are blessed with success. However, again, we must check our heart motive before we post anything on our status update. Are all our posts about how Johnny and Jane got straight A's again and got MVP of their sports team? Do we read most of our wall and realize they talk about praising our kids, sharing our spouse's job promotion and talking about all the ways we served at church that week? This is a gray area, and many posts of praise and rejoicing are just purely sharing good news with friends. However, it is a fine line between that and bragging--be careful how you are portraying yourself. A great way to check your motives is to make sure your boasts point to God. We can better share success if we give all the credit and glory to God, making sure we know that all our abilities, blessings and possessions are His and His alone!
I John 2:10 "Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble."
Finally, a fourth area in which we must tread carefully is our reputation. There are gray areas that might be better left off of your public wall. Facebook can be used as a witnessing tool and way to shine light to the lost world, so you have to be overly cautious when you put anything on Facebook. Why would you post a picture of yourself in that skimpy bikini for all of the guys who you have as friends to view? Why would that picture of you holding a beer at that birthday party make it onto your photos? We know that there are many activities that are not spelled out to be wrong in the Bible, but we can stumble others by parading our freedom to do these activities. Be careful! Your effective witness could be tarnished by a simple post that forever sticks in the mind of an unsaved friend.
Galatians 5:22-25 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
How should we behave? Look at your recent posts and comments. Are you sharing scripture? Are you encouraging your spouse and lifting him up? Are you encouraging a friend and strengthening her with Bible verses or sermon links? Are you thanking the LORD for the blessings you mention in a post? Are you, without a doubt, the aroma of Christ to those who are friends with you on Facebook? Ladies, if we use Facebook correctly, it is one of the most wonderful opportunities to shine for God, encourage our spouse and build up friends! Let us examine our hearts, and use Facebook, yes, even Facebook, for His glory!