Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What Does God Think About Facebook?

I guess all of us have problems with the comparison game at some time or another in our lives.  More commonly as people join Facebook and begin to post the amazing events in their lives, brag on the accomplishments of themselves or their perfect children or simply just post a superficial view of their perfect world.  So is it these people on facebook, you know the people we became 'friends' with accepted their friendship and our beloved family members who we want to share our lives with.......is it these people who have just gotten on our very nerves. 

 Awe, the audacity of a 'friend' of ours or family to show me their greatest events in their life.  Oh, a shame to let the world see that the highlight of their day.  Is it really shameful?  Do we cringe when someone rejoices over these wonderful, happy moments in their life to the point we decide to stop looking at facebook all together.  We become so depressed at the wonderful things happening to others and begin comparing one amazing moment to what seems like a complete failure in our own.

Recently several people I talked to said that they just cannot get on facebook because of the struggle they have with seeing all these wonderful things.  They begin comparing what their 'friend' is doing to what they themselves are accomplishing and doing.  It becomes such a burden and a foothold that they have decided to just stop looking at Facebook, because of this emotional and mental torture.
So what is really going on behind this struggle?  What is the real need in our lives that would cause us turn a head away from seeing what's going on in the lives of our friends and family?

Well, what does God think about Facebook?  After all, God invented the first people connections from Genesis, right?  Doesn't he see all from the beginning of time? Doesn't he know all, already?  Doesn't he see all of our faces and the things written in our hearts that are in secret and in public?  Doesn't God see all of the good and all of the bad in our minds and hearts?  Doesn't he know us even when he knit us in our mother's womb and even numbers the hairs on our head ?    The answer is YES. So is Facebook Evil or Good? Let's first take a look at the practial application and then search the Bible for anwers. 

Here's what I know for sure.  There are many tools out there, via the media and technology that are being used for good. And many others and the same, that are being used for evil.  So the problem is not with the media or technology, but it is with ourselves and how we choose to let us affect us and how we decide to utilize it.

So what does God's opinion of Facebook have to do with US when we view facebook.  I believe that there might be a problem or a challenge that is put before us to see if we will allow something to become sin in our lives.  Oh my goodness, Can facebook be a sin?  Um, yes......it can become sin. What sin has it become? Jealousy and Coveting. Just plainly said, Facebook can be a tool for temptation to be jealous and covet or as an outlet for other people to be cruel and insane, all for the whole world to see. 

Here's a note from Proverbs 14:30
30 A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
    jealousy is like cancer in the bones.

We were watching Sesame street this morning and the emotion they were explaining to kids was 'jealousy'.  It's not 'mad' or 'sad', it's just plain jealousy when you wish you had or were something or someone else to the point of having a strong emotion towards it or them. Such a great addition to the simplicity of my thoughts today.

 It seems so juvenile to think that adults can have this problem, but it is truly a challenge to alot of people.  It is something that can take over our lives and affect our children, our spouse and our families.  We strongly direct our children to not want another kid's toy and take it. I constantly tell my kids to be happy with what they have already and not complain or insist they get 'more'.  But by nature, we are born selfish and greedy. So what does the bible say about these things? Here's some scriptures that come to mind and yes they stepped on MY toes, ouch!:

Galatians 5
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[c] 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Living by the Spirit’s Power

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

So what does God love about facebook? Here's a summary of what I know to be in his character and from scripture: 
1. He loves seeing all his Sons and Daughters sharing the good news of Christ and sharing their blessings to uplift him. 
2. He loves it when we ask people to pray together with us
3. He wants each of  us to learn to have empathy.
4. He longs for us to learn to abstain and refuse to let Jealousy enter our hearts, but to learn to Rejoice with a friend when they are rejoicing.  To laugh with a friend when something is funny. To Grieve with a friend who is going through loss.  To see the world through another person's eyes forces us to get out of our mode of "Self" and get into seeing things the way God see it. Here is the scripture to back it up:

Romans 12

The Message (MSG)

Place Your Life Before God

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

This is so hard to do, but God is only asking that we take baby steps.  To use Facebook as a tool to encourage others with words.  To share in their family events and to support one another in a world that does not want to get personal and does not want to connect to people in a REAL way.  God wants us to use Facebook as a Tool and not a weapon to harm ourselves.  To teach us to accept life, even when we're not receiving the blessings that another is enjoying.  To not let the devil convince us that what we are seeing is a product of God's love poured out on someone else and not even considering that we are simply not good enough for these same blessings.  We begin to put and allow the devil to control our thoughts and we begin to fight this horrible battle inside our self.  This battle paralyzes our thoughts and our emotions and on top of all that: IT steals our JOY.  Remember the childhood acronym J.O.Y.  Jesus, Others, You........In this order is how we have our joy.

Practical Help:
So this might be a struggle to make this big step, so maybe a good first step is to pray over who you NEED on your facebook list.  Perhaps categorize them into close friends and family only for your main post listings.  For those friends who you haven't seen in 5-10 years, just add them to your other list of old friends. You don't need to see everyday what your long lost ex- boyfriend(fiancee) is doing these days.  You REALLY don't need to open up those old doors to painful memories that can further traumatize your issues. Trust me, I know from experience! If there is someone who you have a problem with, just remove them from your everyday posts. 
 There was one exception for me: I had a girl who bullied me in school and made my school years miserable because she was jealous.  This issue of bullying was, by the way, not really taken seriously by  teachers back in the 90's, but simply ignored it due to the fact that my Dad was the counselor and didn't want to be partial.  They never saw the devestation it had on my social life.  It took a decade to get over some of those issues, and still trying to forget.........however shockingly,  she wanted to friend me on facebook a few years ago. I reluctantly accepted but quickly I realized that she had become a sincere christian.  She never apologized, but I chose to forgive with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Without it I would never have seen the grace of God in her life.  She even sends messages at difficult times to encourage me.  We can't live in the past, so if we need to forgive some things, maybe we need to let it go and look for opportunities to reach others on facebook. 
 Just be real with your close friends and family and use it as a tool to gain strength instead of tear you down.  I use facebook as a tool to share with my kids' grandparents and family and friends we moved miles away from........to share in our moments spent far apart.  Before I had a smart phone.......a few weeks ago, 2014, I had no texting or way of communicating to anyone via words or pictures, so this was my only outlet to the outside world of a stay at home wife and mommy. My ONLY way of communication!  I used it to help me through some tough ttimes.  And now I have this blog to share with those who need help in many ways.  I don't want to become one who boasts, so Lord forgive me if I've done any boasting.  I only hope to share my life with family and friends.....not intending to make others feel inferior, or tear them down and belittle them.
So I need not say another final word, but share this scripture to wrap this subject up. And it's almost shocking, by the way, that jealousy is added as 'evil' behavior. I am certainly convicted by this: knowing that even the smallest amount of jealousy is still 'evil behavior'.

1 Peter 2

New Living Translation (NLT)
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!
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