Several years back our kids encouraged us to become involved in Facebook (to keep up with what was going on in their lives and see pictures of the grand kids). We did that and have been “Facebook followers” for a number of years now.
Occasionally we will make posts, but mainly we just wanted to keep up with what is going one with our friends and family.
We have tried to be cautious in how we used the “accept as a friend” or the “invite as a friend” button, but it seems that our lists have grown through the years. I know that some who will read this have hundreds, perhaps even a thousand folks on their friends list. I understand that it has become almost a competition for some, to see how many people they can have as friends. For others it is a way to engage others and feel like they really do “have a lot of friends,” perhaps a way of adding a feeling that their lives matter to others, and that’s alright.
What I am just trying to say that Facebook and other social media can take over people’s lives. I know some folks that are almost addicted to their electronic devices. They grab them up the first thing when they awake and have them with them until the moment they put the light out at night. One person confessed to me recently that they actually sleep with their device so that they can check it anytime they might wake up at night. I honestly can understand their dependence upon the “electronic world.” It is a window to the lives of others and the things that go on outside of our personal world.
Social media is a world in which you can to stay connected with friends and family, but perhaps we need to be reminded that there is a great big world outside of social media. Can social media be a blessing? Sure it can, it gives us the ability to almost instantly put out and receive important information. But it also opens us to input into our lives of some things we don’t need to have in them.
I was thinking about this tonight and this thought came to me: “Would you post what you do if Jesus were on your friend’s list?” Or, would you keep a friend on you list who posts inappropriate things if you thought Jesus would see them? Honestly, though, the past years I have “unfriended” some folks. I found some of the things they posted on “their space” to be inappropriate or even ungodly. Sometimes the pictures or language has been what some might describe as “just a little off color,” or “just word or two I would rather not have read,” and maybe you have “forwarded” that post, because it “wasn’t that bad”. Basically folks believe they are untouchable; invisible, that there are no consequences to the things they post. But I would suggest you ask yourself, “Would you have forwarded it to Jesus?” And perhaps, “Would he “unfriend” you if you did?”
Recently I decided that I had enough of social media. I decided that it just was not good for my life or my soul. It was beginning to take up too much of my precious time and I found myself debating whether or not to “unfriend” someone one because of their posts because after “they did post some good stuff too.” In other words, social media was starting to have too much control on my life, so I “cut the cord” so to speak on “Facebook,” I suspended my account. And honestly, I miss seeing what is going on in the lives of my real life friends who live in different states and different countries. I have many Christians who have been my real life friends on my “friends list,” and it truly is a way to feel the touch of their lives. So still I sit here and debate, do I reactivate my account or not? I haven’t decided yet, but if I do I think I will be more “proactive” in addressing the inappropriate postings.
You see the devil keeps up with the times, the latest innovations and we need to remember that he will use any means to get into our lives… be cautious! Peter put it this way, In 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are”.
Yes, Social Media, to friend or unfriend; that truly is the question isn’t it?
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.