Lately, I’ve noticed a rebellion against Facebook.
“It sucks time away from other stuff I could be doing.”
“It leads to temptation.”
“I don’t have time to do that and people who do obviously don’t have much of a life.”
And sure, you could make an argument for each of these (except the last one) but I think the real truth is a little more complicated.
Facebook is not the enemy. It’s us as a people who choose how we use Facebook or any other form of social media.
It’s sort of like a person who blames a spoon for making them overweight. The spoon is a tool used to help us eat and if we chose to use the tool in a destructive way, there’s going to be a consequence (and a hard to get rid-off consequence at that).
Used correctly, Facebook is an incredibly effective way to share our faith. It’s also a fabulous avenue to share positive resources such as books, movies, You Tube film clips, songs, and inspirational quotes.
Long-lost friends who have been reunited via Facebook and now encourage and pray for one another daily.
A man going through a divorce who says, “I needed to listen to that song you posted the other day. It was meant for me.”
The lonely mother who shares, “I thought I was the only one. Thank you for being real and making me not feel so alone.”
Yet, as with any other tool, Facebook can be used incorrectly as well. A hammer is used to hammer nails and this is good – but when it’s used to hit someone over the head? Not so good.
So before you post something on Facebook, remember the R.E.A.L. acronym (because we want to be authentic in real life and online):
1. Don’t Rant. Ticked off by the stranger who drove by and waved a not-so-nice finger your way? Angered by Aunt Patsy’s passive aggressive disapproval of your children’s bed times? Irritated by poor customer service? Keep it to yourself. I know, I know. Trust me, you have no idea how many times I have wanted to air my grievances to my “captive” (ha) audience of Facebook friends but really . . . maybe the guy who was driving just got laid-off from his job. Maybe Aunt Patsy wishes her daughter were a mother like you. Maybe it was an “off” day for that particular business and we slam them without thinking about the family behind the owner of that small business. Their sin becomes contagious sin if we react to it with our own sin. If we want to get grace, we have to give it, friends. And for the record, I remind myself of this daily.
2. Encourage or Discourage? Will what I’m about to post build others up or tear them down? 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (NLT). If it’s going to tear down, don’t post it. Your words say more about you than anyone else.
3. Is this About me? Maybe someone said something that threatened you and you want to put that person in his or her place. Maybe that person had no intention of hurting you, maybe they did – it doesn’t matter. What matters most is that we ask ourselves why this person’s words were so hurtful and ask God to heal those places that are insecure.
4. Don’t Lecture. We all have different views on a slew of different things. I struggled HUGELY with breast feeding any of my children and threw in the towel soon after each was born. Most people were supportive but the ones who delivered a lecture about “breast is best” made me feel judged and unheard. I actually resisted them rather than listening to any possible valid points they might be able to make. It’s not a bad thing to have opinions; it’s a bad thing to think your opinion is the only one that matters.
Facebook is not the enemy and it’s not a bad thing – unless it’s used incorrectly. So the next time we use Facebook, let’s remember to keep it R.E.A.L, eh?
What about you? Do you have any personal Facebook rules?